“In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence.”
(a nuthatch sitting in typical fashion, facing downward in an oak tree in Julie’s yard / 2014)
The leaves are long gone. The yard barren of color and seemingly void of any life or activity. As I canvas what was, only thinking and hoping of what will be, I am startled by a slight movement along the limbs of a lone stately oak tree.
Upon further inspection I spy a lone little nuthatch. A most spry and hardy little bird.
As I pull my coat a bit tighter, to ward off the blowing January wind, I am mesmerized watching this small bundle of blue grey and white energy hopping up and down the limbs of the stately oak.
Out of all the vast array of birds which call my yard home or hotel, I have always been partial to the tiny nuthatch. Not a showy bird nor loud, the nuthatch merely goes about its business, albeit, a bit upside down, with a relentless tenacity. Maybe that’s why I enjoy watching this bird so much as it scoots up and down trees usually pointed downward, peeping and grunting to itself—something akin to a tiny woodpecker, poking and prodding along the tree bark.
How comforting it is knowing that just when it appears as if life has all but stopped in this vast yard, there is a tiny glimpse of activity reminding all who are observant that life, despite the bitter cold and wet, the dormant buds and roots, the monochromatic tones of a seemingly barren landscape, continues with a steadfast determination.
This gloomy winter full of grey skies, cold wind and sleeping vegetation is made a little brighter and a bit more bearable because there remains a few hearty creatures that carry on, continuing life as if there is no change, no difference. The nuthatch doesn’t notice that the leaves are gone, the skies are dull or the air cold.
As I stand alone amidst the empty cold landscape, drawn into myself by this lingering melancholy of winter, I am gratefully rewarded, after my silent observation, that life is not on hold, the world has not stopped. Winter may be laying hold of all that surrounds me yet I am pleasantly reminded that all is not lost nor gone—For there is joy hopping among the empty limbs of the massive winter sentinels of the yard–a busyness of energy remains, all is not dormant nor still–as witnessed by a small bundle of blue grey and white feathers.