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!