Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

 


Image: Good4thesoul (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Saturday Morning

4-57


Daybreak. Egret. 4:57 & 4:59 am. June 27, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 81%. Wind: 2 mph. Gusts: 3 mph. Cloud Cover: 29%. Weed Avenue, Stamford, CT

Saturday Morning


Notes:

  • Daybreak. 5:04 am. June 20, 2020. 67° F. Humidity 100%. Wind: 3 mph. Gusts: 5 mph. Cloud Cover: 13%. Weed Ave, Stamford, CT.
  • And inspired by this:

A long dark curve is the poem in your body
is the river
is the loon’s throat.
Have you ever asked yourself how
the loon’s voice
opens?

~ Cheryl Hellner, from “Prayer for the Wild Voice, for Nina” (Heron Dance Journal, Feb 2006)

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call (Up!)


Notes:

  • Inspired by Natalie Portman, 2015 Harvard Commencement Speech: “It was instructive for me to see that for ballet dancers — once your technique gets to a certain level — the only thing that separates you from others is your quirks,” Portman said. “Or even, flaws … You can never be the best technically. Someone will always have a higher jump or a more beautiful line. The only thing you can be the best at is developing your own self.”

Breaking News: Epilogue to “Disturbance of the Peace”

An update to this morning’s post on A Disturbance of the Peace.

Forget the Man-Made Traps.

Guess who’s visiting our backyard, on his perch, 10 feet above the bird feeders, waiting for his dinner. (45 minutes and counting)

Wow!


Thank you Eric Kanigan for the shots. Shots taken a few minutes ago from the 2nd floor.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

It is astonishing how violently a big branch shakes when a silly little bird has left it.

~ Katherine Mansfield, from “Alors, je pars.” in Delphi Complete Works of Katherine Mansfield


Photo of Common Redpoll (male) by Larissa Datsha

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

There’s another world that has always existed both apart from and alongside civilization. While I was sick it changed, too, in the age-old turning of the earth itself. By the time I could walk outside again, springtime had come to Tennessee.

In our yard there are violets and spring beauties and stickywillys and buttercups. The invasive but lovely deadnettle has turned the ditch next to our house into a cascading drift of purple. Every year it reminds me of Alice Walker’s words: “I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” Out in the woods, the trout lilies are opening near toadshade and bloodroot and mayapple, all of them reaching up from the cold soil to bloom in the brief sunlight of early spring, before the trees leaf out and the forest overstory draws in all the available light.

For now, the limbs are still bare, but the songbirds have registered the mild light, as well, and their courtship season has begun. The television may be full of terror, and the terror may be growing with every passing hour, but the trees are full of music. The normally cacophonous blue jays are singing their tender whisper song, and the quarrelsome beeping of the Carolina chickadee has been transformed into a glorious four-note song of love. Birdy-birdy-birdy, the cardinal sings. Birdy-birdy-birdy-birdy. He is serenading a female, and if you follow the song to its source you might be lucky enough to see him bringing his mate a seed or a grub, demonstrating his fitness as her partner. In the avian world, a grub is an engagement ring.

Alas for the poor grubs, and also for the earthworms struggling to the surface as they escape their tunnels inundated by spring rains. But pull up a weed from the wet soil of the water-drenched garden and smell the rich life the earthworm has left behind. Just a whiff of it will likely flood you with a feeling of well-being. The scent of freshly turned soil works on the human brain the same way antidepressants do.

Here is the alternate world we need right now, one that exists far beyond the impulse to scroll and scroll. The bluebird bringing pine straw to the nest box she has chosen in a sunny spot of the yard, like the chickadee bringing moss to the nest box under the trees, is doing her work with the urgency of the ages. She has no care for me at all. Even her watchful mate ignores me as I pull weeds in the flower bed beside our driveway.

The natural world’s perfect indifference has always been the best cure for my own anxieties. Every living thing — every bird and mammal and reptile and amphibian, every tree and shrub and flower and moss — is pursuing its own urgent purpose, a purpose that sets my own worries in a larger context. And the natural world is everywhere, not just on my half-acre lot in suburbia, and not just on my favorite trails at the local parks. You can find it during a walk on city streets and in the potted plants on city balconies. It’s in the branches of the sidewalk trees as they begin to split open and change the grayscape green. It’s in the sparrows and the starlings taking nesting materials into the cracks around the windows and doorways of commercial buildings. It’s in a sky full of drifting clouds, and in the wild geese crying as they fly.

I can scroll and worry indoors, or I can step outside and remember how it feels to be part of something larger, something timeless, a world that reaches beyond me and includes me too. The spring ephemerals have only the smallest window for blooming, and so they bloom when the sunlight reaches them. Once the forest becomes enveloped in green and the sunlight closes off again, they will wait for another year. Sunlight always returns the next year.

~ Margaret Renkl, from “The Beautiful World Beside the Broken One” (New York Times, March 23, 2020)


Photo of Bluebird: The Woodthrush Shop

Sunday Morning

The day after the waxwings appeared at my birdbath, I found one of them, its flock long gone, panting on the driveway below a corner of the house where two windows meet and form a mirage of trees and distances. When I stooped to look at the bird, it lay there quietly. Though I could see no sign of injury, I knew it must be grievously hurt to sit so still as I gently cupped my hands around it to move it to a safer place in the yard. It made a listless effort to peck at my thumb, but it didn’t struggle at all when my fingers closed around its wings, and I didn’t know what to do. So much beauty is not meant to be held in human hands.

~ Margaret Renkl, from “Masked” in Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss 


Photo: Livescience.com

T.G.I.F.: What?


Source: Fabulously Weird: A Jacana carrying chicks underneath its wings. Photo by Charl Stols Photography. Jacana Prime Time…With the floods arriving on the Chobe River fields of waterlilies and other water plants are forming, the nesting grounds for the African Jacana. Some of the males are still incubating the eggs while others have their hands or feathers full with looking after the chicks. In this image a male is carrying all four chicks under his wings just leaving their long legs and toes exposed. (Image taken on the Chobe River, Kasane, Botswana)

Miracle. All of it.

The bar-headed goose can fly at almost thirty thousand feet, allowing it to migrate over the Himalayas before sweeping south. Pairs of them have been spotted over Mount Makalu, the fifth-highest mountain on earth. In certain villages the birds are caught and the names of the dead are written in dark ink on the underside of the birds’ bellies. The geese are said to bring news of the dead to the heavens.

~ Colum McCann, Apeirogon: A Novel (Random House, February 25, 2020)


Notes:

  • Bar Headed-Goose Photo: “Bar-Headed Geese Slow Their Metabolism to Soar over Everest” from the Scientist
  • Post title Inspired by Albert Einstein’s quote: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
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