Saturday, October 22, 2016

Loving Autumn Mornings

Sitting on my “coffee deck” in the morning has become joyous and active again.  In summer, everything is bright and hot and harsh; the birds are fat and lazy and don’t need to hit the feeders at first light (not that I would be up at first light in mid-summer…4:00 am is the middle of the night, as far as I’m concerned; I don’t care if the sun is coming up.)

But now that autumn has softened the sun (when it does decide to appear) and moderated the temperature, the garden is a bevy of activity.  I have a huge flock of lesser goldfinches that stops through this time of year, and I love the way they and the newly-arrived juncos tumble like animated leaves down to the ground beneath the trees, where I’ve scattered their favorite morsels. 

I’m aware that the multitude of tiny birds is perfect pickings for the sharp-shinned and  Cooper’s hawks.  Already, a young Coop has endeavored to establish my yard as one of her favorite hunting grounds.   She swoops through the yard, from neighboring tree to fence, sending the tiny birds scattering in all directions.  I haven’t seen her catch anything yet, but I’ve seen evidence that she has enjoyed a meal or two at my birdie buffet:  little circles of feathers on the ground here and there attest to her occasional success. 

Last year, I developed an attachment to a “Moby Chick,” the chickadee with the white speckled black cap.  And every time the hawk would soar through, my heart would be in my throat.  I haven’t seen Moby Chick this year…I don’t know how long these little birds are expected to live in the wild.  But I am going to endeavor not to develop an attachment to any one of these little guys this year.  I can't tarnish my enjoyment of the yard by fearing for the lives of the little prey birds that frequent my feeders.  The hawks are beautiful, too, and wonderful to have around.  And they are just doing what Nature intended them to do.  I would like to enjoy watching that, rather than fear it.

I’ve been giving some thought about where we--the husband and I--will go from here…  What will our retirement domicile look like?  My dream is a small home somewhere in the far exurbs…close enough to a population center to be “safe” for an elderly couple, but far enough out in the sticks where I could enjoy the wildlife year ‘round, without interruption from neighbors’ dogs and loud music and traffic noise and gunfire.  As it looks now, we’ll probably end up in a 55-and-over mobile home park, squashed in like sardines with scores of other retirees and their packs of yappy little dogs.  Not something I am looking forward to, at all.  I hope that the Universe will have mercy on me and allow me a little more of what I crave than…that. 

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