Of birds and patterns

Hawthorn Hill

Of Birds And Patterns

Two years ago, I lamented the absence of bluebirds up here on the hill. As well, the equally disappointing absence of the several pairs of tree swallows that habitually took up residence in the two nest boxes adjacent to our larger vegetable garden. Both species have chosen to summer elsewhere again. However, my faith in what nature writer Hal Borland has characterized as nature’s enduring patterns has not waned. Frankly, I have more confidence in nature’s inherent adaptability than that of my own species. I know there are bluebirds and tree swallows close by, so perhaps they just needed a respite. That is okay with me. Their absence, caused either by climate fluctuations or sheer desire for a change, has been more than compensated for by the summer tenancy of some new feathered friends. These are species I normally only bump into on my walks. Besides, just as we humans opt to vary our vacation spots, why should not birds do the same.

For instance, a nesting pair of chestnut-sided warblers have taken up residence in the trees just to the left of our deck. The male has a favorite early morning spot towards the tip of a white ash tree where he sings out for all the world to hear. Quite a colorful aria! Normally, I would hear one while walking and, more often than not, only a fleeting glance. I get the feeling he likes having an audience. He seems a gregarious sort. On several occasions when I have been working in the garden he has alighted atop the fence quite close to me. His eyes locked with mine. I suspect it was more of a security measure than genuine curiosity. One never knows. I have never been one to discount or belittle the capacities of another mind.

We may think differently or see things differently, but there is an activity present that at the very least resembles conscious design. At any rate, we have had a grand time getting to know one another. My theory of all this is that the absence of regular denizens opens up the space for others. A dynamic is in motion here that I will probably never fathom. Okay with me. Too many solved mysteries circumscribe our lives.

Indigo buntings are among my favorite birds. Normally, I might snatch a quick peek as one darts from one bush to another. Last sighting up here, according to my notes, was quite a few years ago. Now, we have a pretty friendly male who often perches on one of our wrought iron deck chairs and appears to be quite curious about the goings on inside our porch. Ideal viewing platform I guess. That chair is also shared with a catbird with similar curiosities. These novel behaviors by new friends are thoroughly enchanting. New joys are always around the corner is the way I see it.

Building new relationships with buntings, warblers and catbirds offsets the daily stress of our troubled communal lives.

I’ll take my antidotes anywhere I can get them. I know Gabby would nod her approval.


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