Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Reflections on a Snowy Day

This was written in January during our snow. It is a Reflections column I am writing for our local newspaper. I am illustrating with an ATC for a willowing.ning swap. If you know a local paper who would like to run this sort of column, please have them contact me.


A blanket of snow on the ground with ice beneath. It’s cold, cold for north Texas, but, hey, that’s ok. Here I am with my warm tortoise shell kitty asleep by my legs as my mind wanders over the day.

We have many bird feeders in the back yard, and from my chair I can see them all. On them are perched white-winged doves in abundance - at least on those feeder that have room for the huge gray and white birds.

Also, I see English sparrows. Not a welcome visitor to our small sanctuary, but they, too, must feed in this weather - or die. I don’t recall how these sparrows came to our shores, but shame on whoever brought them, and on whoever brings other non-native animals and plants.

But, oh, well, that’s a whole different story, and it’s not one I want to burden you with right now.

There are at least five cardinals feeding; one male and four females. Guess the bright red male has his harem with him today. On milder days we don’t see so many cardinals. I understand, from my naturalist friend Jim, that the elms have had so many berries that the wild birds aren’t as interested in feeders this winter as they have been in earlier times.

There are a few of our northern friends, also visiting - but not many. The duller winter goldfinches that are usually here in droves have not appeared in large numbers, and today is the first day I have seen a pine siskin at my feeder since last year. We have had a few juncos, actually very few. We call them “nun birds” because their black and white feathers remind us of our friends the nuns at the convent in Maryland.

There are other northern visitors that we have seen all winter, the ruby crowned kinglet, the brown creeper, the red breasted nuthatch. And there are other birds hovering around.

We have house finches, Carolina wrens, tufted titmice, Carolina chickadees, and downy woodpeckers. And we have a couple of surprising additions beyond the bird hide of our patio windows. We have golden crowned kinglets and yellow bellied sapsuckers.

Of course, we also have the blue jay and the occasional mockingbird along with a small number of chipping sparrows.

So, although the day is cold outside - so cold, in fact, that our cat has napped rather than wandered even to the door to look at the birds - it is a perfect day for peace, of mind and of spirit.

This oh so cold day has brought a glorious hush to the life, to the week, to my mind. This is a time to be still, to relax, to know that rushing is not an option today. To read, to paint, to write for fun.

This is a day quiet reflection and thanksgiving. A time to curl up with a book or a laptop. To let all the problems of yesterday go.

I hope everyone has had some time this day to do the same.

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