Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

 


Image: Good4thesoul (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

T.G.I.F.: Running. With Mother Goose (3).

4:48 a.m. 8 hours of sleep. Rested.

I jump out of bed.  Dress. Gear up.

It’s 5:04 a.m., and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.) 9th consecutive day pulled outside by The Call of the Wild.

44° F, feels like 42° F.  No wind. No traffic. Dark. Full moon beams from up above.  Jenny Offill: “The moonlight through the windshield. No one talks.

Same route.  Down the hill. Around the corner. Down the street to U.S. 1.

There, up ahead, silhouetted under the street lamp, is the Masked Woman. 5:09 a.m. Can’t be her. No chance. She hustles across the street. I glare at her.  You better make way for me Lady.  She says nothing, but sweeps both hands up to cover her face. It’s going to be a good day.

I run.

Down U.S. 1. I work my way around the construction, crossing the bridge, the highway and into The Cove.

The same pair of geese stand at the entrance, that’s them in the photo above.

I pause for a moment to snap the shot, and keep moving, pulled forward towards the main performance.

The same acceleration of heartbeat.

The same anticipation.

[Read more…]

Running. With Mother Goose (2).

5:15 a.m.

In bed.

Both knees ache. Hips sore to the bone. I pass my right foot over my left toe, blister forming. I slide it further, abrasions on the tips of my little toes.  Raw.

This would be the 8th consecutive day of running. My body screams No. But that’s not going to happen. She’s responsible. I must see if she’s there.

I check my watch.  43° F, feels like 39°. I bundle up.

5:35 a.m. and I’m out the door. Running. With Mother Goose. (Again.)

My pace is too quick. I’m winded at 0.5 miles, and she’s at 1.7. My God, you’re a child. So anxious to see Her. 

I slow my pace and cross U.S. 1 into The Cove.

I see two of them at the turn, and stop to take a picture. That one above. Pink sky in the morning, sailor’s…

I shake the disappointment off.  Her nest was further up. Maybe that’s not them.

I run, eyes looking ahead for her nesting along the guard rail. Christmas Eve at 8 years old.

[Read more…]

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

the world is alive with such innocent progress

In feathers the color of dusk, a swallow,
up under the shadowy eaves of the barn,
weaves now, with skillful beak and chitter,
one bright white feather into her nest
to guide her flight home in the darkness.
It has taken one hundred thousand years
for a bird to learn this one trick with a feather,
a simple thing. And the world is alive
with such innocent progress. But to what
safe place shall any of us return
in the last smoky nightfall,
when we in our madness have put the torch
to the hope in every nest and feather?

~ Ted Kooser, “Nightfall” in Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, May 8, 2018)


Image (edited): featherthenest.com

Saturday Morning

nest-sleep-silence

Silence
will carry your voice
like the nest that holds the sleeping birds.

~Rabindranath Tagore, from Stray Birds


Notes:

Quotes: Your Eyes Blaze Out. Photo: Sarah Treanor with “still life” (via Your Eyes Blaze Out).  Find all of Stray Birds @ eldrichpress.org.

Saturday Morning

rabbit-nest-empty-meuse

When an animal, a rabbit, say, beds down in a protecting fencerow, the weight and warmth of his curled body leaves a mirroring mark upon the ground. The grasses often appear to have been woven into a birdlike nest, and perhaps were indeed caught and pulled around by the delicate claws as he turned in a circle before subsiding into rest. This soft bowl in the grasses, this body-formed evidence of hare, has a name, an obsolete but beautiful word: meuse. (Enticingly close to Muse, daughter of Memory, and source of inspiration.) Each of us leaves evidence on the earth that in various ways bears our form.

Sally Mann, from Hold Still: A Memoir with Photographs

 


Notes: Photo: Merry Magpie Farm. Quote: Brainpickings

Nest


Watch. For 120 seconds.


Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

eagle-cute-adorable-nest


Source: themetapiicture.com. Thank you Susan.

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call: Time To Work

robin-nest


Photograph by Ben Andrews. Thank you Your Eyes Blaze Out.

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