the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window

red-birds-at-feeder

To the Editor:

Re “The Solace of Birds in Winter” (Op-Ed, Dec. 15): I am smitten with my backyard birds. What is it about the industrious little souls leaping delicately about my tray feeder that so lifts the spirit? Their spunk? Their equanimity no matter the weather? The variety in their eating habits?

Mourning doves plunk themselves down in the center of the tray to chow down. The red-bellied woodpecker grips the edge and won’t yield his position. The chickadees and nuthatches take a seed each, one at a time, to a nearby branch to nibble.

A chickadee weighs less than half an ounce. Its coat of feathers, half an inch thick, keeps its tiny body at about 90 degrees even when the air temperature is zero. It is this, then, that takes my breath away and is the source of my affection — the miraculous, every day in winter, not 15 feet from my window.

Margaret McGirr
Greenwich, Conn.

New York Times, Letters, December 17, 2018


Photo: Project Feeder Watch titled “See Red” by Stephen & Judy Shelasky, Longmeadow, MA. 4 male Cardinals, a Red-bellied Woodpecker and a little sparrow checking out a female Cardinal as she flies into view.

T.G.I.F. (from another seat)


A migrant, part of a group intercepted aboard two dinghies in the Mediterranean Sea, rests after arriving at the port of Malaga, Spain. (Jon Nazca, Reuters, wsj.com, April 26, 2018)

Today’s Forecast

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Photo: nima chaichi with rouge – “in a rainy day, everything turned to red…” (New York)

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

LOANHEAD, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Edite Galite from Latvia, holds up a Poinsettia plants ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season at the Pentland Plants garden centre on November 18,2016 in Loanhead, Scotland. The garden centre grows around 100,000 poinsettias, a traditional Christmas house plant. The Midlothian business supplies a host of garden centres and supermarkets across Scotland and the north of England in time for the festive season. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


100,000 poinsettias are ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season in a Loanhead, Scotland garden center.  (November 18, 2016. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Don’t other fantastic shots here: Prepping the Poinsettias for Christmas

Saturday Morning

october-fall-autumn-red-leaves

Let the eye enlarge
with all it beholds.

I want to celebrate color,
how one red leaf flickers
like a match held to a dry branch,
and the whole world goes up
in orange and gold.

~ Linda Pastan, from “Autumn” in Carnival Evening, New & Selected Poems 1968-1998

 


Notes: Poem Source: Thank you Beth @ Alive on All Channels. Photo: via The Sensual Starfish

 

 

 

Miracle. All of it.

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Picture yourself in an airliner, at high altitude. One of the plane engines has just caught fire, the other doesn’t look very well either, and the pilot has to make an emergency landing. Finding yourself in such a situation can be a shattering, yet also a revealing experience. First, there are of course the cries, the tears, the whispered prayers, the loud hysterics. Amid all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, you cannot think of anything in any detached, rational fashion. For you have to admit it, you are scared to death, just like everyone else. Yet the plane lands safely and everybody gets off unharmed. After you’ve had a chance to pull yourself together, you start thinking a bit more clearly about what just happened.

That’s when we might realise, for example, how close we can be sometimes to not being at all. And also that there is something oppressively materialistic, to an almost obscene degree, in any ‘brush with death’. Some faulty piece of equipment – a worn-out part, a loose screw, a leaking pipe, anything – could be enough to do us in. That’s all it takes. We thus realise that, when we experience failure, we start seeing the cracks in the fabric of existence, and the nothingness that stares at us from the other side. Yet even as failure pushes us towards the margins of existence it gives us the chance to look at everything – at the world, at ourselves, at what we value most – with fresh eyes. The failure of things, coming as it does with a certain measure of existential threat, exposes us for what we are. And what a sight!

From that unique location – the site of devastation that we’ve become – we understand that we are no grander than the rest of the world. Indeed, we are less than most things. The smallest stone we pick up randomly from a riverbed has long preceded us, and will outlive us. Humans are barely existing entities: how can we claim privileges? Fundamentally, we are vulnerable, fragile creatures. And if, unlike the rest of existence, people are endowed with reason, it is this gift of reason that should lead us to understand how modest our place in the cosmos actually is.

~ Costica BradatanEveryone fails, but only the wise find humility


Notes:

Big Red

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How?

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This morning it rained.
This afternoon it is sunny.
How is that not like the mind?

~ Michael Kewley, May all beings be happy


Sources: Quote – Some of my best friends are birds. Photo: Your Eyes Blaze Out

Orlando. Pulse. I’m not seeing it either.

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I’ll say God seems to have a kind of laid-back management style I’m not crazy about. I’m pretty much anti-death. God looks by all accounts to be pro-death. I’m not seeing how we can get together on this issue, he and I.

― David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest


Notes:

It’s been a long day

Elif Sanem Karakoç

[…]
But remember that you have to move on,
somehow.
You just pick your head up
and stare at something beautiful
like the sky or the ocean,
and
you move the hell on.

— James Patterson, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas.


Notes:

 

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