It is morning. It is morning!

I sit at my desk watching the weeping birch, which seems to have finished leafing out overnight, whisper and wiggle in the morning breeze. It is a lovely sight. An occasional gust shoving through tells me that my bicycle ride later this morning may require some periodic pedal pushing (like that alliteration?) but I am up for it.

The other day traveling the local rail trail, I heard and, with a persistence I don’t always put forth, saw an orchard oriole! My first. What is an orchard oriole, you might ask? It is a slightly smaller version of a baltimore oriole, and with a deeper orange, rust-toned, ranging on robin red breast. And the one I saw and another higher in a second tree somewhere to my left, called back and forth “chirrup, chirrup”. When I got home, I pored through my various bird books, and the electronic sources to verify my sighting. No one mentioned the chirrup, but indeed, that is the word they both were speaking to me, to each other.

If you have a loupe, scan this photograph millimeter by millimeter. The orchard oriole is in it, somewhere!

So then I started to look for, and find, birds’ nests. Periodically, perhaps annually, but I think not that often, I think to myself that I am going to study and be able to identify birds’ nests with their creators. I don’t seem to follow through on that self-imposed study subject. Here are two. Can any one of you identify the maker?

Perhaps I will take up the study, once again. Perhaps I will follow through this time.

You know, if I don’t see the bird making the nest, I am lost. And this is exacerbated by the size of the bird vs. the size of the nest. The mourning dove nest I saw in my neighbor’s tree a year or so ago looked only sized for a sparrow, yet it comfortably seated two doves and eggs. It gives me pause about how much space we seem to think we need for our own selves. We do take up a lot of room, and a great deal of new material for our structures, whereas birds and ground fauna make such effective use of fallen twigs, catkins, dirt, grasses, feathers, trash!, fur, hair, leaves (in my neighborhood, and probably anywhere, squirrels make very effective use of oak leaves, those tenacious oak leaves, which I use as winter cover for my flower and vegetable and shrub beds).

I need to admit, if I haven’t before, one year, many, many years ago I was stashing combed cat fur in an accessible place out, thinking to offer the backyard friends nice, warm nest material. Well they never took it. Well, of course!! Cats are a menace. Smell cat fur, know threat. So I stopped that practice. Now, as I know I have mentioned before, I just grow vegetables that many flighted and grounded backyard friends consume with and for me.

So what are you noticing this spring? What is local and a bringer of joy? Maybe touch a tree today. It’s grounding. It’s pleasant.

Oh, and just because, here is a photograph of a constructed owl, overtopping a newly completed trail crossing of the Concord River. The story provided was that when the mills were everywhere in Lowell, clanking, lurching, huffing, clinching, puffing, reeking, creaking, creating and destroying simultaneously, and using the talents and lives of mill workers, the mill girls who used to stay in boarding houses were “watched over” a watcherwoman per house. Also resident in many of the the boarding houses, up in the attics, and their environs, were barn owls. They provided their own type of watching over and protection against unwanted beings. So, to denote these “protectors” this fragile, yet imposing watcherwoman owl has been constructed. This owl has solar panel eyes, so at night they light up, which is pretty cool albeit a bit eerie.

I’m going out now. Maybe I’ll see you in my wanderings as I do in my wonderings.

May all be well. May it be so.

Author: Kate Hemenway

I like to explore, to observe. I like to be within what is around. There is always something to wonder about and to ponder. There is always something.. My favorite ways to get to places are bicycling and walking; or reading, or thinking, or asking. Please feel free to ask back, as I continue to wonder out loud, express joy or concern, or, sometimes, talk through my hat.

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