It’s the birthday of feathers! The dinosaurs grew them. Who knew evolution was going to do them? They wished for relief from plodding the earth, so they lightened their bones and depleted their girth. As they worked on their balance, were they assuming that soon they’d be soaring and swooping and zooming? It’s true evolution gives gift after gift, but nothing more magic than providing lift!
In those first months of its success, when first love starts to evanesce, we flounder in its first excesses, never guessing what the stresses are that love will soon let loose– when the gander feels the noose and in his imagination conjures up a short vacation wherein he is free to wander here and there and over yonder to see what other lovebirds might desire to feel his loving bite. Needless to say, his sudden bolt may give his present love a jolt, and when he chooses to meander, what cooks the goose may burn the gander!
I’ve been outside so much during this Shelter in Place period that I’ve been seeing lots of birds. I think Granny’s Bird of the Day prompt has ended so I’m just going to do my own private bird of the day for awhile. If anyone else wants to do so and link to it, just do so in comments. My friend Paul Hart, an avid birdwatcher and genius photographer, identified this for me.
Click on photos to enlarge and view captions. A poem follows.
I’m so glad I had the glass wall put in in my studio.
Now that I’ve installed a hummingbird feeder in his tree, this bossy hummer lets the butterflies feed at will on the tabachine bush.
Today this new variety of swallowtail.
I have to catch them at rest. They whizz by too quickly to catch them in flight.
This little box elder bug spent all morning and afternoon with me.
Now he’s there.
Now he’s not.
Diego and Morrie now think this is their studio as well.
Meditations from My Room
I share different company in my isolation. Dogs litter my studio floor, and my backyard is an in-between place for birds passing as though at a freeway interchange, this way and that.
A constant flutter of butterflies stirs air around the orange and yellow thunbergia, lush in this season that mixes sun and rain. They soar down to the empty lot and back again, as though no creature can resist collecting here in my domain.
Nature follows no rules of man. It cannot learn obeisance or heed human leverage. Our world, professional and polished— how easily by nature now turned inward upon itself.
Our burnished world can hold no sway, for nature heeds no golden cow.
Her empathy extended toward the broader view,
nature must change the things she can. She has been patient with us long enough. The time is now.
Nature recycles as everyone sleeps, and those dreams that you’ve dreamed are the daydreams it reaps. Then twice thought and forgotten, our daydreams soar free. How many dreams may lie snarled in this tree? We cast them afloat but know not how they fare once we’ve released them out into the air.
Dreams are not limited by dreamers’ choices. Once announced and declared in stentorian voices, birds may collect them and shape them in nests among fibers from sweaters and threadbare old vests once the pride of new grandpas, they now cradle eggs, as though new dreams are made of an old daydream’s dregs.
I‘ve always preferred to see birds feeding off natural sources in my garden: flowers, trees, plants—(please click on first photo below to enlarge the photos and to read the rest of this tale🙂
but recently it occurred to me that the large slab sculpture next to my pool and directly in my line of vision from my computer desk would be an excellent place to scatter seed so I could watch the birds feed there.
Then, my next brainstorm was that the somewhat leafless plumeria tree next to it would be a great place for a hummingbird feeder. I had one that generous housesitters had bought a few years ago but that I rarely filled, so the first step in this plan was to fill and hang the hummingbird feeder,
then to go buy bird seed for my alternate two ton bird feeder!
Morrie was the first to express interest in the project.
Something in that bag of seed interested him,
and he even offered to help me open the bag.
I scattered the seed and retreated to my desk, hoping to see the first birds descend.
But Morrie was especially interested in this new turn of events.
then drew Diego’s attention as well.
Then decided this warranted further investigation.
First a sniff,
then a taste, during which he brushed a few sunflower seeds off onto the stones of the deck.
Diego tried a bit of this strange new food,
sniffed around for more,
then found he had no problem at all reaching the seed up on its original level and soon both seemed to be grazing on bird food!!!
Side view of felon
all too soon, they had exhausted the supply of bird food
as quickly as they had scarfed down their own food fifteen minutes before.
I returned to the pool area to find only this evidence that morrie had ever been there.
But when I returned to the house, the scavengers returned, hoping I’d left more provender.
Morrie, a stubborn little guy, returned to his former feeding place.
I watched from inside the house as Morrie discovered a new potential source of nourishment–the hummingbird feeder! Luckily, it is just out of his reach, but I doubt any hummingbirds will investigate it too closely with him as watchman.
Not quite the feeding frenzy I had expected to watch. Definitely a new species of bird. The End.
In a nutshell: the little dog stands on his hind legs to examine the high stone slab sculpture for evidence of seeds. I’d put them out the morning before for the birds, thinking the three-foot-high stone sculpture placed 20 feet away, but directly in front of my computer table, would be perfect for observing birds. Wrong! Within ten minutes, every single seed was gone–completely eradicated by the vacuum cleaner tongues of Diego and Morrie. On to the next plan! I try again, after having fed the dogs. This is the result. (If you click on the first photo, you can see the photos in a larger form and read the entire story.)
The bird swoops
from the neighbor’s roof,
low over the pool
like a crop-dusting plane over prairie wheat.
and when I again look up,
it has already sailed over my bedroom dome,
up to the hills that march above our fraccionamiento,
still green from the rainy season,
holding yellow flowers in bunches
like a hopeful suitor.
It is movement only
and a flash of brown,
not white like the albino owl
that swooped in a similar downward curve
over the pool and up again
that night our old friend died
alone in a hotel room in London.
This is the language of birds.
My two-woodpecker alarm clock,
every morning stirring me
from my solitary bed
to engage with the day.
The whir of hummingbirds
outside the window
in front of my desk cave,
drawing my attention away
from the worrisome puzzle of the next word.
standing at attention on one leg,
balancing on the dense hyacinths
that blanket the lake,
one eye intent on shadows
beneath water no human eye sees.
That sudden flash,
a filled beak
and that puzzle of digestion––
how to get a horizontal fish down a vertical gullet.
All the music of my life
sometimes distills down to the chorus
of thrush and cardinal,
wren and grackle,
of the egret.
By some synchronicity,
conducted into a natural choir
that is beautiful in its spontaneity.
What orchestra has that fine precision
and that moving harmony?
Every art a mere imitation
of what the world provides us every day
that we present ourselves to experience it.
No architect of reason can save them from their plight.
No proffered catnip ransom restore their former flight.
When lethal paws unsheath their daggers, hummingbird and finch—
Their wings, stilled from their flight, lie scattered on the bench.