good night, friday

As Friday winnows to a close I address the day in retrospect. This morning I set out with the sole purpose to watch birds for the first time in many weeks. I traveled to the rare and alien Southwest Area Park, aka SWAP. There I found two pairs of Northern Shovelers. I did not find an Orange-crowned Warbler, as had been previously spotted at SWAP. However, I redeemed this loss by flushing an American Woodcock, one of my all-time favorite birds. With my trusty bins clamped to my face, I followed that oddly aerodynamic buffy bullet as it shot full-speed up and over the reeds, far away from the deer track where I stood. Elation! Later, hundreds of migrating blackbirds flew overhead, filling the air with the ethereal music of their contact calls. Spring is on its way! Ah, if only every day were filled with such moments!

friday morning

I throw open the windows to let in a surprisingly cool mid-August breeze.  I sit close to hear the cottonwood leaves rustle as they tell their stories.  A crow calls, soon he will be joined here by his brethren on their winter roosting grounds.  A cardinal chips, probably while out there eating the grapes growing on my neighbor’s arbor.  I’ve been finding them on the deck railing lately, pierced through and emptied of their insides.  Out through the sun porch windows I see a hummingbird pass by, lingering first at the crape myrtle blossoms.  On the stereo now, Walker and Jay play their twisted and gnarled mountain music; the sad soulful notes swirl around this round table where I sit and soar up through the window screens to the grey skies above. I have two doors to paint today and that is something.

darker ends to days

Well, I spent much of the week battling illness. It did enable me to catch up on my reading, while also keeping me away from work, which is always a good thing. I felt incredibly restless at times, in between catnaps and long stretches of reading, causing me to marvel again at how elastic a day can seem when there is no set agenda. Time off to myself leads to reflection, of course. I’ve neglected this blog, my attempts at musical expression, and inevitably a few other things (keeping in touch with people comes to mind). I could make excuses, but they’ve exhausted their validity by now. I have a house now and that is incredibly awesome. However, I’m deeper in the city and I miss my feathered friends at the window feeder. The overwhelming majority of feeder birds in my backyard now are House Sparrows and Mourning Doves, with only occasional chickadees and cardinals. The age-old seesaw continues to teeter and totter: city versus country, socialite versus hermit. My mind expands but I’m still really just going nowhere. In short, not a whole lot has changed. There’s a strange sort of comfort in that. Maybe it’s getting older and becoming more comfortable in my own skin. It’s like I feel less inclined to explain myself; my funny ways are just part of who I am. And I’m okay with that.

in the woods

Warmer weather lured me and Em Ell up the winding roads to Prettyboy. We hiked around and stalked the birds. We sat then in the soft brown grass under the still bare spreading boughs of a sycamore. The air is still; the wind rustles through the trees and the birds sing. I am calm. I am finally quiet inside. I think that if I spent every day of the rest of my life in the woods that everything would be okay. These moments are the antithesis of the hours spent in front of my computer at work. There is no substitute for them. These moments are bigger than anything else I can ever dream up to bring peace to my ragged mind.

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