The Birds

One of the many reasons I heart Robert Frost so much is his ability to see so much in nature.  I was born and bred in the country, and with that comes a love of nature.  I’m not talking about the peace-sign wearin’, hairy armpit sportin’ love of nature.  Um, my car doesn’t even have a bumper sticker -though I will note that I saw one a few weeks ago that I liked.

Live simply so others can simply live.

But back to regular programming… all my life, I’ve been able to look out of my windows and see for miles on end.  The stars have always burned bright, except on cloudy nights, and most of my friends lived off of dirt roads (as I did).  In fact, most of my friends still live off dirt roads.  I’ve always had fresh air to breathe and I’ve always had my own personal wilderness at my disposal.

My husband and I have never owned a house.  We’ve been renters.  We don’t mind -we’ve never had the house itch, but I have gained a few preferences as the years have gone on.  One of those is that I want a window above my sink.  And if possible, can we please have the sink and window facing west?  Nothing funny about it, I just love washing dishes while the sun sets in the west.

My daughter loves to help me do dishes (this we know) and one day I pointed out the sunset, asking her what colors she could see in it.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” I asked, “Mommy loves the sunsets.”  From that day to this, she has consistently pointed out every sunset she’s seen to her mother.  Valentine’s Day, we sat down to have a family dinner.  Our Valentine Tradition is staying and fixing up a fancy-to-us Valentine dinner to share, just the four of us.  This year, we grilled teriyaki chicken skewers and baked potatoes.  I made a spinach salad, and then we ate our food off of paper plates because I was sick all weekend and behind on housework.  As I washed a few dishes between baking potatoes and tossing a salad, my daughter tugged at my arm.

“Mom, LOOK!” She said.  I’m ashamed to admit that my enthusiasm for looking wasn’t what it should have been.  It was more like… *sighhhhhhh* “What is it?”

“THE SUNNNNN SET and ALL A ‘DOSE BIRDS!”  I looked out of the window and saw an enormous flock of black birds flying in front of a golden sunset.  The rich hues of purple and pink reached out around the sun and it literally took my breath away.  I’ve been watching those black birds all season.  They come around this time of year, and they are beautiful.  I love watching them from my windows.  Last week, I watched a calf play with them exactly as a kitten would play with a strand of yarn.  I’d never seen a calf behave like that before, and it made my day.  That’s what I love about this season: birds, calves, the feeling that the wretching cold is conquerable.

Yesterday I took a short stroll around my house just as the sun was fixing to set.  I wanted to snap a picture of the birds, if I could.  I knew any picture I might get wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful as the Valentine’s Day Flight in the Sunset, but at least it would serve to remind me of that day.  Can you see all of those birds?  Oh how I wish to Hades on evenings like yesterday that I was an equipped photographer!  My children came totting behind me and found their uncle next to the barn. (Is totting a word?  Because that’s really what they did.)The kids wanted nothing to do with the birds.But my little brother was nice enough to scare the birds out the tree.

It really is something to see -these pictures really don’t do the birds justice.  They’re something to be seen and something to be heard.  Their song isn’t squawky and screechy -it’s chaotic and distant.  Chaotic and distant is much more enchanting than squawky and screechy.  I’m off to google just what kind of birds they are, whistling “Bye, bye Blackbird” as I do.  I wish you could come over and see them and the bird-chasing calves.

And would you mind keeping me company while I do my dishes by sunset?