Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sorrow In The Yard

How is my feeding of the birds going, you might ask? Well, I suppose it is going well, although there are now 18 of my least-favorite birds, the squabbling portly doves, who should probably sign up for weight watchers, pronto.  As should some squirrels, who are otherwise going to be too slow to escape from Dorothy if they keep hoovering up all the seed.  They can’t say I didn’t warn them.  Bulldogge is faster than she looks.

But anyway, I keep putting seed out and we keep getting winged visitors, probably at least twenty or more different kinds daily, which is nice.  And we have a hairy or downy (I can’t tell those apart) woodpecker couple who visit our suet feeder in the front.

We did have sorrow in the yard on Thursday morning when the biggest hawk I’ve ever seen appeared high up in the branches of our highest tree.  This hawk was seriously big—at least 26 inches tall, if not taller.  She was sitting up there minding her own business, and I thought it was odd, although not unheard of, that the squirrels and birds at the feeder did not disperse and instead just kept feeding despite the hawk sitting above them.  The reason for this nonchalance became clear when our neighbors informed us as we were going to work that there was a dead hawk in their backyard.  So our poor large girl had clearly somehow just lost her mate!

And so even though Walt Whitman is a poet I haven’t read or thought much about since high school, I feel the urge to quote him again.  Surely our hawk must have been singing such a song high up in our tree?

"...Low-hanging moon!
What is that dusky spot in your brown yellow?
O it is the shape, the shape of my mate!
O moon, do not keep her from me any longer.

...But soft! Sink low;
Soft! Let me just murmur;
And do you wait a moment, you husky-noised sea;
For somewhere I believe I heard my mate responding to me,
So faint—I must be still, be still to listen;
But not altogether still, for then she might not come immediately to me.

...O darkness! O in vain!
O I am very sick and sorrowful.

...O past! O life! O songs of joy!
In the air—in the woods—over fields;
Loved! loved! loved! loved! loved!
But my love no more, no more with me!
We two together no more."

Our backyard birdfeeder in happier times.

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