Sitting on the porch in a rocking chair enjoying the peaceful afternoon, watching the chipmunks and chickadees on the bird feeder. Suddenly a large brown blur whizzes by, the animals instantly scatter and hide. The blur banks sharply sideways, furiously flapping its wings, narrowly missing the feeder and then the porch railing. Right behind the sharp shinned hawk are two black birds, squawking their displeasure. They chase the hawk up into the maple tree by the driveway, where he tarries only a moment to catch a breath between the hectoring blackbirds, before dipping off the branch swinging low over the yard, then gaining altitude and flying out over the back hill out of sight. Once the hawk goes higher up and away from the yard, the blackbirds glide back and the as the tranquility returns to the neighborhood.
Early morning, birds cheerily singing, slanted sunbeams dance through the trees, green and yellow wavering light. Sitting up with the blankets pulled around me against the morning chill, I look outside the screen tent windows to find those wicked noisy birds. My ears tell me they are everywhere, but not to be seen. I glance up at the softly tinkling wind chime hanging from the tarp overhead and notice a perfectly formed geometric spider web spun between the tarp and pole holding it up. Sunlight glistens and shines through the silken strands making the gossamer threads shimmer. If I were a spider, I would make my home in such a place to catch the first light of sunrise so that I could live suspended in a house of dazzling sparkle sliver sunbeams.
Sitting on the porch in the evening, enjoying the blue cool of the approaching night, sun has disappeared behind the ridge, but the sky still has full sunlight. Breathing in the sweet smelling evening air, and rocking gently in my rocking chair. Something buzzes by in a blur of motion. It stalls at the startling red geranium flowers hanging in a pot from the porch roof. Its a ruby throated hummingbird! The first one spotted of the season. I follow its manic tour of all the flowers in the front yard, dipping and tasting each one. Then it whizzes off into space out of sight. It must be time to put the humming bird feeders out with their bright red nectar sweet liquid perfect for attracting and feeding these wondrous little winged creatures!
Walking up the road, near the top where it intersects with a county route, under the hemlock trees, the overcast day making all seem gloomy, moisture still dripping randomly from the dark heavy trees. I suddenly hear several blue jay stirring up a raucous. I see them through the tree limbs diving, fluttering, feinting, and screaming. Then I see the focus of their attention. They have found a large sleepy barred owl camped on a thick branch minding its own groggy business. It valiantly tries to ignore their tormenting jeers. I stop and observe. The blue jays put up on magnificent show. Eventually, the owl spies me and decides it is just too much, decides to go find a more peaceful place to sleep the day away. It steps off the branch, silently opens it wings, and glides overhead, slicing between the trees and disappears into the gloom of the overcast evergreen forest, with the blue jays in hot pursuit hectoring the whole time. Eventually they will chase him out of their territory and hopefully then the owl will get some peace.
The early spring flowers have faded and other late spring flowers are emerging. The apple blossoms are gone replaced by minuscule bright green orbs that will grow into apples. The peach blossoms are gone as well, but I am watching the tiny, hard, dark green oblong nodules on one tree and the fuzzy pale green ones on the other. I hope the grow into peaches and nectarines, but having sprouted from pits in a compost pile, who knows what fruit they will bear, maybe they will be like crab apples, small, malformed, and bitter. For now, I am enjoying the slow exploration of watching them get slightly bigger every day, incrementally small changes that can only be appreciated through time and patience.
Standing on the cobbled, muddy edge of a lazy section of the Hudson River in the Adirondacks, watching the clear tannin browned water slip quietly by through the cool muggy morning air, I glance down and notice a dragonfly who has just emerged from the husk of its nymph form. Bending down close, I gently pick up this delicate helpless creature, its gossamer wings still unfolding and not yet stiff enough to sustain flight. Holding my finger up, it clings with all its tickling feet, I admire its sheer tenacity, its life force, its being. After many minutes of careful fluttering, it takes its first flight, low over the water and out of my sight. I then notice others taking off from the reeds and grasses around me. On closer inspection I realize I am standing in the middle of a huge dragonfly hatch. Squatting down I see dragonflies in all stages of emergence from just starting to break free of the nymph shell to flying away on the almost imperceptible breeze. Life is amazing!
I knew they were back, having heard their melodious call in the woods and seen fleeting glimpse of bright orange in the trees. As I was walking through the living room I happened to glance out the front window and there one was, perched on the bird feeder eating orange delight suet. I stood transfixed, having never seen on eon the feeders before. Bright orange breast, black head and black and white wings, pecking serenely at the gooey suet cage. He stayed a long time eating his fill as I watched him. Oh spring rejoices and summer is close on its heals!