Have you ever watched a woodpecker bop? Have you ever listened to a nuthatch crank? Watched a cardinal glimmer? Heard a titmouse scold? Seen a chickadee flit? Listened to a mourning dove chuckle? Watched a blue jay helicopter down to grass? Have you sat back in low morning sun and been serenaded by a finch high in the arbor vitae? Have you watched a community of sparrows emerge, dive down, zip up, burrow; emerge, dive down, zip up, burrow….?
Many is the bicycle ride I have delayed starting because I cannot bring myself away from the avian community that dwells with us.
But also, I am brought to mind the many table tops, laden table tops, that a tree comprises. The dogwood, for instance, from dawn to dusk hosts families of the above birds as well as chipmunks, squirrels, occasional cackling grackles and clucking starlings, all of whom store, stash, unearth, and consume seeds provided by the grass below, the multi-member vegetable/wild things garden also below, the neighboring fruit trees, the broadleaf and needle evergreen shrubs, the azaleas, the wildflowers, the very fruit of the dogwood, the grey birches out front, the neighboring mostly maples and oaks. I watch the chickadee tirelessly pull one nyger seed at a time from the feeder and tuck it under a fold in the dogwood bark, the nuthatch skewer a sunflower seed and find a larger fold in the dogwood for a safe, the wren, the titmouse, robins, once a family of cedar waxwings, once, and only once, just a couple of weeks ago, a blackburnian warbler! And on and on. I have also locked eyes with a cooper’s hawk, more than once, paused and still within the dogwood branches, undoubtedly sitting right on a chickadee’s breakfast table.
The cardinals, I notice, and the sparrows (oh the sparrows!) sit and eat their fill on the feeder perches. The cardinals, and only the cardinals, succeed in shoving the sparrows out of their way. Everyone else ducks around them or flutters nearby awaiting an opening.
Let me jump to another topic. (Note a word in this sentence is a hint.) Briefly, can you see what is in this photograph besides the pine tree trunk and needles?
Would you have seen it without the hint? I am so glad that there are means and methods to hide in plain sight.
The mystery. The beauty. The unfathomable structure of creation.
We may imitate. We may copy. We may replicate. But…..
“My heart is not proud,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with
or things too wonderful for
But I have stilled and quieted
like a weaned child with its
like a weaned child is my
soul within me.”