|This piece was written several years ago |
and used as one of my columns when I wrote
for the Clinch County News. It was the beginning
of my realization that you really do have
to take time to smell the flowers and
watch the birds :)
One Sunday, not too long ago, the arrival
of a flock of small birds in my back yard
was reason enough for me to stop my chores
and take a break. A few years ago, I would have
Back then, I'd have thought the chores
were more important.
In the last few of years though,
I've discovered bird-watching, yet another
of my "growing older"
hobbies. So when I glanced out my kitchen
window that afternoon and saw the noisy gathering
of little birds, I was pleased. I eased to the back
porch with my binoculars and bird book and
settled into a chair to watch them.
Right away, I knew they weren't locals. At first
glance, they looked like sparrows. But on closer
inspection, I saw they were too small.
Their brownish, heavily streaked bodies
indicated they weren't warblers or wrens.
A splash of light yellow across their wings
and tail glinted when they were in flight.
The wheezy calls they made filled the
afternoon air. I was intrigued to find out what
they were and flipped furiously through my book.
By this time the group, numbering between
twelve and fifteen, was taking full advantage
of my hospitality. They perched, four or five at a
time on the bird bath, drinking and socializing.
They fussed for a space at the feeder, slinging
seeds in all directions. Everyone seemed
to be making themselves at home.
After about twenty minutes, I had them pegged.
They were Pine Siskins, and the book's map
suggested their spring/summer range included
most of Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Apparently, they were taking a rest before returning
to their summer homes. As I looked at those
tiny birds and then calculated the distance
they had traveled to be sitting there in my
backyard, I was amazed! Often, I've been
filled with awe by something I've seen or read
concerning wild animals and birds.
This was definitely one of those times.
According to the map, they spend winter across
a large part of the Midwest and eastern
United States. I was lucky enough to be living
in the very edge of the southernmost section
to which they migrate.
Around three, they began to thin out, winging
away to the woods beyond our house. I felt grateful
to be at home on the day, and at the very time,
those little snowbirds decided to visit. This chance
meeting had turned what seemed like an ordinary
day into something extraordinary.
There's a quotation by Frank Lloyd Wright that goes:
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature.
It will never fail you. I came across it a several
years ago, at a point in my life, when I felt
overwhelmed by the stress and worry that
accompanies our modern lifestyles.
For me, it was a turning point. The simplicity and
truth in that saying made perfect sense. I'd always
loved the outdoors as a child, but somehow,
adult responsibilities made me forget that.
I've come to realize that the beauty in nature
is there for a reason: our enjoyment. The tranquility
and sense of wonder it gives us fill a void like
nothing else can. It's taken me a while, but
I've come to appreciate these experiences
for the gifts they are. Perhaps because we're all
so busy anymore, we think we don't have time
to step back and enjoy the natural beauty that
surrounds us everyday.
It might be something as simple as the sight
of a rainbow after a thunderstorm or a gorgeous
sunset on the horizon as you round a curve.
Maybe it's the sweet smell of honeysuckle
on a warm summer evening or the glorious
song of a mockingbird in the early morning.
Or perhaps the sight of azaleas in full
bloom at the beginning of Spring.
Think about how you feel after experiencing such a moment.
For me, it's a feeling of satisfaction
and peace. I think that's because it fills a need in
us that is as essential as eating, drinking
Consider it food for our souls, hungry from the
frantic pace of everyday life. I know those birds
weren't the only ones who were fed that afternoon.
I, too, felt satisfied, content.
And the chores, they were still there, long after
the birds had flown.
Rose Steedley Williams
Monday, April 4, 2011
Food for the Soul
I am what I am, no more, no less :) I love to write poems, stories, creative nonfiction pieces. I've lived in the Deep South all my life (Georgia & Florida) so much of my inspiration has a Southern slant to it :) I write what comes into my head, often through my heart. Writing is therapeutic and very necessary for me as a means of understanding the world and my place in it.