Well glory be, a sunny day! Almost forgot what it felt like to see the sun in the sky. And yes, it's far too warm and muggy but I won't complain or speak ill of its first appearance in what seems like weeks. I'll escape to the shop with its air conditioned comfort and I won't leave until late this evening. One way to beat the heat and not lose my mind. I'm a wilter, I swell and feel ill in the humidity, not a pretty sight but enough said about the weather and my bloating body!
This morning I took the dogs outside for their pee and found a dead robin on the back deck. That probably accounted for one of the many thuds we hear that get blamed on the house sighing as it heaves and shifts on its granite foundation, one of the many nightly reverberations that I find comforting. The dogs sometimes yap when they hear something outside but I don't investigate as it's usually a deer feasting on my gardens. It probably happened early morning and maybe the poor thing purposely flew into the kitchen window overwhelmed with depression from all the miserable weather we've had. I'm sure by now, the worms have drowned in their underground tunnels, maybe there's nothing left to eat!
There is so much bird life around us but it's rare to see one dead. Birds lead such secretive lives and only show us how magnificent they are when flying by or sitting in a tree serenading us with beautiful songs. I'll bet most of us have only seen the odd dead bird as many times as fingers on one hand. Considering the millions of birds flying in and out of our yards it's amazing we aren't stepping over little bird carcasses every time we go outside. No, I'm not being morbid, I'm just curious how that part of their life cycle remains so hidden. I ponder such things with my curious mind.
I found a birds nest while gardening last week tucked under a weed choked area all snug and cosy. The dogs and I saunter by that spot everyday and never suspected there was new life teaming only a few feet away. Broken pieces of shell indicated that baby birds had hatched so they must have been very quiet as not to attract attention with baby bird peeping. Bird nests are another hidden secret rarely seen by humans. Of all the birds around you don't often find any nests, in my lifetime I've probably only seen less than a dozen. I'm either not that observant or the birds are masters of dwelling disguise.
It's isn't rare for a bird to hit our house but they're usually just stunned temporarily, rest for a bit, shake their head and fly away. One day last year I was writing at the dining room table when there was a loud bang behind me. I ran outside and found a bird on the lawn in front of the window. At first I feared it had broken it's neck but it seemed intact as I picked it up. No flopping parts or feathers ruffled, a good indication it might survive. It resembled our common wood peckers with the red head and comb but the colouring was different when I looked it up in the North American Audubon book. Maybe a new species!
I had a long time to study it, maybe twenty minutes or so and I marveled at its beauty. Something so small and frail in appearance, colored as if an artist had used a brush, but sturdy in its architecture to fly into the wind. Magnificent really. I sat very still with the bird cupped in my hands and I talked to it with positive affirmations, that he would fly away and join his family in the trees. At times his head cocked back and forth as if he was listening and I could feel his little heart beating.
Time stood still as I drank in the wonderment of the moment. My dogs were behind the screen door whimpering to join me outside, anxious to know why I was just sitting there ignoring them. And then, all of a sudden in one quick motion the little guy stood and sprang from my hands taking to the air as if nothing had happened and landed on a branch of the birch tree in front of me. He turned and look back for a few seconds and then flew away, never to be seen again. It was a strange experience and in my foolish mind I thought I'd made a connection and maybe he'd return so I sat for a moment waiting. Silly romantic girl....a throw back to my pretend years for sure. We humans project our feelings all the time; it isn't necessarily what's going on and after touching something that wonderful I guess I didn't want to let go.
We have a lot of birds around our property and I 'm serenaded daily by chickadees and yellow finches. I love the primary colours of our feathered friends, the cardinals, bluejays, canaries and finches, always painting the landscape, like nature's jewellery.
The cooing of doves is a daily melody. I believe they mate for life and among the several pairs that seem to like our driveway, pecking away at seeds that blow in from the surrounding trees, there is one lone dove who sits on the peek of our roof and coos a mournful sounding cry, as if calling to its lost mate. The call is heart breaking, reminding me of past losses.
We have a lot of crows as well. They like the row of pines behind our garage and caw to me when I'm in the yard. Scientists have discovered that crows can recognize faces so I wonder what they think about the both of mine. The morning face, red and patchy and fading lips, and the evening face, powdered and creamy with red lipstick. There is a mowed back field next door and I often laugh when I see them congregate each morning with the seagulls and sometimes a pheasant or two, like some of the old guys in town who meet for coffee every morning to hash the news. I can hear the occasional squawk as they converse in the language of bird.
And my favorite, the hummingbirds. I fear all this rain will be a deterrent this year without the budding of their favorite red flowers. They flock to the Red Monarda and fight over territory, humming around your head while you pull weeds, fanning you with the flutter of tiny wings. I've always loved the hummingbird and have designed and hooked a few pieces. First as a chair paid when I opened shop many moons ago. I don't have the rug anymore as a lovely lady talked me out of it. Apparently her sick mother had little time remaining and loved hummingbirds. It was such a sad story I let it go. I balanced the joy it would bring with my ability to hook another and let it go to an appreciative home. Never one to hook the same thing twice I changed up the shape and made a tea cosy.
Then Armenia wanted the same birds in a rectangle rug so I added a third, balanced it with a few branches and some apple blossoms and she had a rug to hook while sitting at her cottage window looking out at actual hummingbirds in her garden. Now that's art imitating life or is it the other way around....?