The seed speckles the snow like buckshot piled neatly under the branch where we, fingers numbed, tied the little chalet to the lowest limb of the ancient maple. The birds stand staring as the squirrel swings slowly in the breeze.
The finches are struggling this morning, searching the lawn for the odd clover seed that’s yet to be reduced to dust by a summer where the rain has painted our world with a palette of parchment, ochre, leaving us wandering an increasingly sepia world.
We know that the rains will come again, that nature’s green will return, however briefly, before winter encases us all in its white mantle that we pierce at our risk.
The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.The finches and wrens know, or simply care nothing of this and go on with their search, until the approach of the cat brings their effort to a sudden end.
They lie in the field uprooted slowly desicating in the harsh sun, the fruit they might have borne trapped in the dying flower, the seed of another generation denied. It was not supposed to be like this, the sun should have fed them, the soil nourished their souls, their stalks growing thicker, drawing ever more life from the earth.. But here they now lie, torn away left to wither, and we mourn them, and the loss of what might have been. The question how we or those like us could so callously disregard life, and know that this part of our nature will never be easily overcome.
She wants to know why the oriole we sometimes see in the park never visits our backyard feeder. I remind her that she isn’t usually here, only visits occasionally, but she says that I would have told her if I saw one. She says I got excited when I saw the one in the park during our walk. She is right, of course, I would have told her but all I see at the feeders are finches of several sorts, doves and wrens, and when he wants particularly to be seen as he often does, one cardinal who is far less interested in the seed than in having a perch in plain sight, and when he knows were watching, upthrusts his fiery crest and spreads his wings. I tell her cardinals are such show offs. She is seven, laughs and says yes they are, just like grandfathers, don’t you think.