my every day JOY-full

I am so frequently reminded of the poet Mary Oliver’s line, “Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight.”

So often it’s the birds that bring me that delight. I can hear when someone either new, or a returning visitor, sweeps through. I often run outside with my camera, and unfortunately, disturb and scare them off.

But I care about their habitat and do all I can to protect my feathered friends. And so this past week I was very sad when one of our beloved Evergreens, a mature tree even when we moved into our home 45 years ago, supplied the last of her gifts to us and was removed.

One of my daily delights has been watching both Ring-necked and Mourning Doves  line up, twice daily, patiently waiting before swooping down on the feeders.

I hated taking away their favorite gathering spot.

For a few days they weren’t at the feeders with the same regularity and I wondered if they’d just decide to move on in protest. However, while waiting to see how the doves would vote, other birds stepped in to treat me to opportunities of absolute surprise and delight.

I stepped out my back door and caught a fleeting shadow out of the corner of my eye.

A young hawk was just sitting on the tennis net. Surprise! He took an exception to my camera and moved up to the oak tree, but even a poor photo is proof of urban wildlife and I smile for days!

Then this solo Black Phoebe has chirped and serenaded every afternoon this week. This little bird, I’m convinced he’s the same bird each year, makes his home in our yard as soon as fall is in the air. We don’t see him from late spring or throughout summer. But at the first signs of fall, back he swoops! He will sometimes quite literally, REALLY, sit on the patio with us. He has a real fondness for basketballs.

Tuesday night I came out of my yoga class around 7:00 PM and made my way to the car. And then I heard it! A sea-gull. A gull? What?

I looked up, and there he was, talking to me. He had to travel a good 25 miles to get from the ocean to our location, but if you know me at all you know that I love the ocean and spend as much “beach time” as I can manage. What a special and welcome visitor. This sighting was a true gift!

But the best was yet to come.

Last night while Jay and I “heated” in the backyard jacuzzi, he looked up and with a big smile pointed up over the eaves of the house!

Just look who found a new tree and their personal perch!

And that’s when Mary Oliver’s poem came to mind.

If you don’t know the poem, “Mindful,” let me share it with you here, with the hope it might lead you into a week of many little gifts.

Stay observant and you’ll definitely breathe lighter!




33 thoughts on “my every day JOY-full

  1. Nice poem! Here’s to paying attention to the little drops of joy that fill our days!

    I am glad your feathered friends have adopted a new tree in your yard on which to perch before descending for breakfast!

    1. I know you relate to observing the little delights in life, Nancy. I was so happy to see the birds at peace. Makes me laugh sometimes how I worry about them–birds are more adaptable than I am, surely. LOL! I do love this poem. 🙂

  2. Debra, such a wonderful poem.I feel so often the same as was written by the poet and now you’ve shared in your own photos and words this same joy as she described. The birds do seem to return to the places they find joy-filled I believe!! Thank you.

    1. Mary Oliver’s poetry always speaks to me, Ellen. I was glad to share “Mindful” under the circumstances. 🙂 The birds were probably always going to be just fine, but maybe I was more concerned that if they went elsewhere I would miss them! 🙂 They’re back draining the feeders twice a day.

    1. I remember the time I gave a friend a beautiful bird feeder for her birthday and she acted so funny and a little uncomfortable. Then she spoke up and I had to laugh at myself. She has cats, too, and all she could see with my beautiful little gift was disaster! LOL! How could I have been so thoughtless! Ha! I’m so glad you enjoyed the poem and video. Mary Oliver touches me with her observations!

    1. It’s so true, isn’t it, rivergirl? Watching the different species gather in different parts of our garden at their favorite feeders is really quite amusing. I am able to attract many species by working at special feed and good nesting and water sources, but it is still a suburban garden,and there are limits! I can only imagine what you must see! I am a little bit envious of your country life…envy in only the nicest of ways, of course! LOL! 🙂

  3. Lovely poem and very apropos. We’re going to be in San Diego for a couple weeks, so “our” birds will probably get their beaks out of joint because they’ll empty the feeders and we won’t be here to refill them. I hope they forgive me.

    1. I suppose they must make do without you and hopefully return with gratitude for what you typically provide, Jim. We always have to pay a pet sitter for our other animals so we can usually ask that the feeders be filled, too, but still, who is going to fill them multiple times a day other than me! I’m actually glad that the birds aren’t too active in winter because we may need a break! Enjoy your San Diego trip! I can still picture that beautiful view from your deck. So nice! 🙂

  4. We have 4 bird feeders so obviously I am a crazy bird person. The last week or so we’ve had a hawk hovering. They typically catch rodents but this one seemed to be in for some gourmet eating. I didn’t see him catch anything but then again, I didn’t watch him every time he came. I was always amazed at how the birds knew he was there. When he quietly perched. There wasn’t a bird (or chipmunk or squirrel) in sight. He obviously has to work for his dinner.

    1. When the hawks come into our area, especially if they’re perched nearby, the birds just disappear! I have a vine covered fence in the back that isn’t very pretty but I have protected the ugly greenery because the birds dash into the thickness of it as protection. I wish they’d show more interest in the rodents and stay away from the birds! I love that we share the title “crazy bird lady,” Kate. It’s such a relaxing little hobby!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing, V.J. I appreciate meeting someone else who appreciates the gift of birds and all they offer in their interesting habits! And I’m glad you enjoyed Mary Oliver, as well. 🙂

  5. I’m sorry that you had to remove that magnificent tree! But, wildlife adapts (often way better than we do) and I’m not surprised that they have found alternative perches. We just removed some overgrown rosemary that the bees loved and I felt terribly guilty. I’m already planning on drought-resistant, bee-friendly replacement plants.

  6. No, I didn’t know it but thanks for sharing ‘the untrimmable light of the world’. 🙂 🙂 I’m not hugely a bird person. We have two fat and very dumb wood pigeons who cavort in our garden and I regularly cuss them for the poo they deposit on my best garden seat. I do have a weakness for robins though. They are so bright-eyed! And owls, of course, but I’ve never seen them in the wild. So much joy to share, Debbie!

  7. I discovered Mary Oliver only recently and have been captivated by her thoughts about nature. I hadnt come across “Mindful” and I am grateful to you for telling me about it. Do you know “Summer Day”? The two poems seem to complement one another.

  8. It’s always sad when a tree has to go – they almost become members of the family don’t they.

    Nice selection of birds Debra. I’m surprised that you don’t often get Gulls. We have them throughout the year in London, mainly around open spaces. Most are Black-headed Gulls which are quite a small species but in the autumn and winter we will get lots of Lesser black-backed’s and Herring Gulls which are very large birds. At this time of the year there will a flock of them on the pitch at the football club until the groundsman turns on the sprinklers!

    I had to stop feeding the birds in our garden at the end of last winter. Unfortunately we had a mouse infestation to deal with and I had to remove the food source (seed discarded by the birds). I’ve now successfully removed all the mice from the house by trapping them and then releasing them down at the local nature reserve. Fortunately our Rowan tree was providing a great source of insect food throughout the summer but autumn is now here and the temperature has dropped significantly in the last couple of weeks.

    On Monday the Coal Tits came to investigate the empty feeders – a tug at the heart strings for me! So I decided it was time to fill them again. I ordered from CJ Wildlife who do next day delivery as standard. so late yesterday the new feed arrived. I’ve opted for fat balls, peanuts and peanut cake foods to control the dropping of food on the ground where it can attract mice. I saw the Coal Tits in the tree this morning and set about hanging out the fat balls and peanuts. No sooner had I part closed the window but the Coals were on the nuts. Within a couple of minutes our resident Robin was on the window sill investigating what was going on. Now the other regular Tit’s have also shown up – Blue and Great and it’s busier than Heathrow Airport out there 🙂 The Sparrows will find out over the next day or so and then I guess the Pigeons and Starlings will also move in to visit each day! Birds are so entertaining aren’t they 🙂

  9. A poem and birds all worth sharing. I wonder if the seagull was on a mission to give sea-lovers a touch of the sea?
    Pity about that tree. Why did it have to go? People, in general, are far too

  10. Well, dear friend, as I sit here, tears of joy dripping into my cup of morning tea, I wonder once again at the joys of nature and puzzle at why it took me so long to get to this awesome post. I am so sorry about you tree, understanding completely the grief of such a loss. At the same time, I am delighted to see that your doves have returned and that some new feathered friends have discovered your oasis.
    Mary Oliver’s poem is perfect. I love her words and they often seem to be there just when words are needed.
    Would you believe me if I told you that just yesterday afternoon, coming home with Tom from an injection, a hawk swooped past the car in all its glory. Thanks for this post, Debra, and the affirmation that, even when our guideposts are taken down, new ones will eventually arrive.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed your collection of birds and so glad for your home and family that birds have reappeared, your Fall bird and the “gang” on the wire who forgave your trimming their beloved tree, Debra. Birds are considered in many cultures “winged messengers” and the gull surely brought you an ocean message, calling to you to visit the sea soon. 🦆 🕊️🐦 🦉
    I dropped by to share that Landen has been on steroids and will be getting radiation and chemo for his masses. His mother took Landen to see a Michigan specialist and was trying to hope for an alternative path. He will be able to come home sometimes. He went to the county fair and as he turns 13 this month, he felt “cool” (questionably) by telling friends he “now has a license to have pot!” This will be put into recipes to help his appetite when it wants and he has a home school teacher now.
    Thank you for caring and listening to me, too. It is comforting and I appreciate this. hugs xo

  12. Sorry to hear about your tree but glad that it was able to provide so much for so many years. Enjoy your daily teachings, may you never run out of them. Enjoy the company of your feathered friends in your surroundings.

  13. “To Look, to listen to lose myself inside this soft world.” Brilliant words for this post as well as something you do very well.

    Hi Debra … and yes, I’ve seen sea gulls in Cincinnati.

  14. Pingback: Somewhere Between the Noise and Calm – breathelighter

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