Or, at least, I would say it. You may have noticed this as well, when the weather interferes with stepping outside for a walk or bicycle ride, I seem to either read a book, write a blog post, or clean house. As it doesn’t happen all that often, you might conclude that my house is in dire need of cleaning, and that my pile of books to read is never shrinking. However, I have made a specious connection at the outset of this paragraph, because inclement weather is not the only cause nor inspiration for me to read, nor (but less frequently than reading!) for me to clean my house, though it is for me to write a blog post.
So, yes, my house is moderately clean–it is a challenge to accomplish that when (1) you don’t get excited by the act of cleaning the house, although you enjoy the results, and (2) it is a very old house, 106 or 109 years old and like any entity as it ages, sheds a lot just standing in place. And, yes, I read a lot. It is a favorite of mine along with walking, bicycling, thinking, and being with friends–all of which, I must admit, take precedence over vacuuming and dusting.
This morning as snow falls I watched a hairy woodpecker as he consumed thistle seed, then suet, then thistle seed, then suet, and then sit absolutely still and shoulder hunched against the thistle seed feeder and under the shelter of the suet feeder house avoiding the fast falling snow. His stillness lasted three minutes, absolutely. Then, as if an alarm sounded, he began nibbling at the thistle, then the suet, thistle, suet…. again. After awhile a house sparrow came along and gripped to the thistle feeder beside the woodpecker. Woodpecker was having none of that!! He pressed against that sparrow, shoving him aside, and then pecking at him, until they both tumbled to the ground, squawking. I waited for an eternity–5 seconds–and then up returned the woodpecker to the feeder and into the azalea bushes escaped the sparrow. I will go out later to see if any feathers were dropped into the snow below the feeders (although I am not likely to find any as the snowfall is immediately and thoroughly covering all). I had never seen that activity before. Usually it is sparrow vs. sparrow. They are scrappy! But this woodpecker had more than food to protect this time, he was in shelter against the storm. That mattered more.
Now here is an ongoing challenge — just what is my neighbor building in his backyard? It is not a “shed” as the door is not large enough to enable entry of a lawn mower, never mind a snow blower, etc. And so I wonder, a dwelling? A hideaway? A workout room? Whatever, I am unhappy with its encroachment, but that is the plight of a semi-urban homestead. I pray daily that he does not tire of the magnificent oak that stands in the back corner and supports so many of the birds that grace us daily with their visual and audible presence, and that provides me with the leaves that cover my gardens all winter and enable the dogwood, birch, maple, cherry, and plum leaves to heat and become dirt over the winter, enriching my soil daily.
Hopefully, come spring warmth, the neighbor’s construction savvy friends will return and the building will receive a cover over that paper. And then they will neither build nor deconstruct anymore. Grouse, grouse, grouse.
But today. The snow! Yesterday, pre-snow day, I walked through one of my favorite “wild” corridors and came upon a dozen or 18 red wing blackbirds, and a dozen grackles. They peppered the tops of a stand of trees — oaks, maples, aspens, and a couple of beeches — and they just talked, and talked, and talked. They could care less that I stood there binoculars to eyes watching, watching, watching and listening, listening to their crowd conversation uncomprehendingly but with such joy. Closer, at foot and knee level among the ample brush were countless juncos flitting and flicking their grey with startling white stripes tails, and sparrows ranging the grasses and reeds pulling seeds and weeds, chuckling between tugs.
I also crossed paths with a fallen tree, supported for I don’t know how long by a second tree, and surrounded by young and middle-age trees. The heartwood of the fallen tree is beautiful!! See here.
Would that the world could enjoy such peace, always, everywhere.