If I hand a blog, today I would write about the comforting presence of some especially dear friends.
Things are quieting down in the woods these days. The joyful chaos of the fall migration is, for the most part, over and my birdwatching has become less about adding to my life-list and more about greeting old friends. As the autumn passes and the riot of color fades, a sense of peace settles over the woods and fields as our winter residents settle into their regular routines.
Along the path to the river, the white-throated sparrows have settled en masse among the pasture roses, their dark forms dipping in and out of shadow as they dine on rose-hips the color of autumn apples. As they go about their day, they sing their winter-song, a shortened version of their lyrical mating call, and it is music to my ears.
The juncos are working in the tall grass along the lane these days, erupting skyward in a flash of slate gray and white when they sense my presence. Later in the season, when they know me better, they will linger in my presence, but for now, they are wary, unsure if I am friend or foe.
On woodland walks, my companions are the chickadees and titmice. These are the bravest and ckeekiest of birds, daring to land on branches just a few feet above my head as they sing their familiar songs. I always feel as though they remember me and are just keeping their distance to maintain their standing among their avian colleagues.
There is a lot to be said for the new, the unusual, and the exciting, but more often than not, my soul needs the familiar, the known, and the comforting. In a world where little is certain, the cycles of the natural world give me peace. As long as I can rely on the turning of the year, the rising and setting of the sun, and the return of my feathered friends, I have hope that I can weather whatever storms may come.