It is now April 9. The Hooded Mergansers are coming through in numbers on their way from the wintering areas in the Gulf of Maine to breeding grounds on the the St. Lawrence. They travel as the ice recedes before them.
“Be a nuisance when it counts. Do your part to inform and stimulate the public to join your action. Be depressed, discouraged, & disappointed at failure & the disheartening effects of ignorance, greed, corruption & bad politics — but never give up.”
February 26, 2018
A doe and her yearlings grazing under the big spruce
after two nights sleeping under our tallest pine.
The return of the school bus
Monday, the last in February,
fog thick and misty on warming snow,
crows about, calling in the ether.
The sole natural color comes from the deep maroon
of dried crabapples
too high for the deer to reach
on their nomadic path through for food.
The cedar waxwings have not come for the remains yet.
already melting at 7 am.
The spruce cones that I tied up in the apple tree
after rolling in peanut butter and mixed bird seed,
now hang naked,
stripped of their nutrients.
An orange ratty plastic net bag
that held a ball of fat,
has been long ripped apart by marauding squirrels and jays.
I wait for this moment,
our release from the ice and darkness.
Water moves across the dooryard and drips from the rooftops.
Then March 1 came Thursday.
What would it take
to do our small part,
to mend the circle,
to be part of the circle,
instead of its destroyer;
to be compatible
with the eagle and the fish,
to be poets again?
“If you can’t be a pine on the top of a hill
Be a scrub in the valley—but be
The best little scrub on the side of the hill….
It isn’t by size that you win or fail—
Be the best of whatever you are.”
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 4/9/67
“This common, large songbird is familiar to many people, with its perky crest; blue, white, and black plumage; and noisy calls. Blue Jays are known for their intelligence and complex social systems with tight family bonds. Their fondness for acorns is credited with helping spread oak trees after the last glacial period.”
This description from Cornell’s All About Birds site says so much succinctly. The Blue Jay is a bird of intelligence and strong familial relations along with an attitude of screechy stridence. This is a bird who has played an important role in the ecology of our temperate forests for the last 10,000 years at least in part due to its passion for acorns. I can easily imagine it having close links to its ancestor, the dinosaur. It is ubiquitous and long lived, meaning it is resilient, adaptable, admirable traits.
I find myself asking why we do not worship this bird. It has a crown of feathers worthy of monarchy. And a sense of entitlement. Instead, we tend to devalue the common birds very much like we reach for Round Up every time we spot a so-called weed.
I hope in the years to come we awaken to the power of the weedy resilient flora and fauna and recognize their brilliance. Then we might find the grace of living in concert with the other myriad inhabitants of this planet earth in order that all may thrive together. January 2018