Thursday, January 3, 2013

Good Companions

Lesser Goldfinch by Bill Ravenscroft

The cousins were present on my walk down the river road this morning.

No ordinary cousins of mine.  Siskins were joined by the Goldfinches in the seed bearing dried forbs on the side of the road.  The Siskins were far more numerous and greedy.  They flashed their yellow patches in the sunlight as they flit about.  The arm bands of the Goldfinches are more diagnostic at this time of year, for they lack the brightness and color of the breeding season.  It is the winter season after all.

Sorry, you power walkers; you would have missed my good companions.  I had planned to walk briskly, but I was prepared to stop and take notice.  I intentionally stood and craned my neck toward the sky and was rewarded.  The hue of it was more the royal blue of morning rather than the pastel pale blue of an afternoon sky.

Birders are a lucky group. They, getting up with the dawn, find good feathered companions and diverse habitat, a gift of the day free for the taking.  To wit, there is a snag overlooking the river upon which, high up near the top, a Red Shoulder Hawk I often notice.  Today, he was there.  I am glad to say my binoculars were in hand and I was afforded a good look.  His breast was tawny red.  Such a graceful flier, too, shoulder patches visible, distinctly held wings –away it flew deeper into the woods, having had enough of my disturbance.  The five squirrels in the oak below did not look appetizing either, I guess.  Or perhaps, it had already breakfasted on amphibians and crawfish from the riverside.

I do wish more of you would join us who take joy in the observation of nature and become our good companions, too.  You can so easily.  This is an activity that one can take on in youth, in maturity, in mid-life.  It can be as leisurely or strenuous as anyone desires.  It takes you from the hustle, bustle of normal living and grants you tranquility.

I walk on and notice Eastern Phoebes, Red Bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays and sparrows.  The “sweet, sweet” call notes of the Downy I hear, and it makes me pause to find the little bird in a pecan.  As I near where my car is parked, upon the grassy knoll, almost a dozen meadowlarks parade.  Which are they, Western or Eastern?  Stop. Wait. Listen.  Ah yes, the melody is of the Western. 

Work calls, Reluctantly, I go. Reluctantly…I go.

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