Wren Magic

If I had a blog, today I would write about one of my favorite birds: The Wren.

Winter Wren

Winter Wren

When I am out on a photo shoot, it is always a pleasure to encounter a wren. Though they are one of the smallest birds in the forest, they are fearless. They seem happy to let me set up camera and tripod in plain sight and will let me do so at closer range than any of their avian cousins. When They aren’t watching my antics with the camera, they flit about through the underbrush, flipping leaves and darting in and out of the bracken with fierce pleasure. The set of their upturned tail, the gleam in their eye all speak to the wren’s unshakable confidence. If I happen to get a little too close for my subject’s comfort, the wren does not flee, but rather zips a few feet away and scolds me for my impertinence. Chastened, I back away until Her Ladyship feels I’ve shown the requisite obeisance, then she is back at work, and so am I.

October 3 - House Wren

House Wren

On my walk this morning, I encountered two of family Troglodytidae: The winter wren and the house wren. Both were kind enough to let me take the pictures I wanted and I felt my spirits lift just watching these intrepid ladies go about their work. Wrens bring me joy not only because they are lovely, but because they possess traits I lack. I struggle to be self-assured; to speak my mind without fear of reproach, to stand up to the world and proclaim myself worthy of respect however eccentric I may be. I would like the wren to teach me how to set unimpeachable boundaries that allow me to do what I love without feeling self-centered; without questioning my motives a thousand times over and I would like the wren to teach me to sing, to express myself in my voice, however strident and brazen it may seem.

Druids and Celts believed wren feathers were wards against drowning and people often collected cast-off feathers to wear as amulets of protection. I am a good swimmer, but I could use a wren feather to save me from drowning in the ocean of worry and fear. As I survey the future and the inevitable loss of those I hold dear, the waves come crashing, pulling me out into the dark waters of the unknown. I know I must tread these waters, but perhaps with the help of the wren, at least I know I will stay afloat.

Sedge Wren

Sedge Wren (2013)

If tradition holds, the wrens will be busy along our fence-rows for weeks to come and I will be in their company daily as I take my autumn walks. I will remember to stop and make medicine with the wrens and ask if they would care to pass on their wisdom to a lowly human being. I have hope that a creature who is undeniably certain of its power will accept a me as a willing pupil and perhaps the coming of the Winter Solstice will find me strong of voice and master of my fears. If there is a magic that can guide me to safe harbor, it is Wren Magic that can give me what I seek.

 

Waiting to Be Found

If I had a blog, today I would write about wrens and luna moths.

Wrenfield

Wrenfield

I am all about interpreting signs from The Universe. I am diligent in my pursuit of knowledge through dreams, signs, synchronicities and the like, but some days I take issue with the cryptic nature of these messages. For example: I have had three Carolina wrens in my house this week. They came in through the pet door, so their entry is no surprise, but trying to figure out what the Wren Sisters are telling me is driving me to distraction.

I’ve done my research on the wren as a totem and have discovered that she is telling me to have self confidence, to revel in nature for spiritual renewal, and to be “who I am.” Thanks Wrenfield, like I didn’t know that already? Could you be a tad more specific? Maybe say, “Here is the key to giving up anger: Do these three things and it will depart forever.” That would be nice! If that’s asking too much, how about a clue in the “who I am” department? Other than being a tired, slightly dotty tree-hugger, I have no idea who I am right now.

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Then there are the Luna Moths. I have found five in as many weeks. All had passed on when I found them, so I brought them home, to be preserved in a shadowbox in our library. Once again, I jumped at the chance to see what Luna was telling me and once again, the message was unclear. Moths, like butterflies, imply transformation, which I need right now. They also represent faith because the caterpillar must die before it is reborn as a winged beauty. Resurrection fits here too. I just can’t quite tie it to the issues I’m facing in my life. I always need faith and I always need transformation, but how do I achieve these things?

For whatever reason, I am surrounded by messages that I can’t seem to read. I’m close to a breakthrough, but it is hovering just beyond my grasp. I feel like Charlie Brown when he sits down, opens his mouth wide, and screams, “Arrrrgh!”

“Arrrrgh Universe! Arrrgh!”

Waiting to Be Found

Waiting to Be Found

All I can do is follow the advice given to those who traverse the wilderness: If you get lost, stop moving. No one is going to find you if you’re trapsing around in the bush. Hunker down, build a fire, and wait for help to come. The Universe knows where I am. After all, its sending me birds and moths by the bushel. Since I cannot see a clear path, I will be patient and wait for a sign that illuminates the others. I know it will come, I just have to settle in until it does.

Late Summer on The Greenwood

Late Summer on The Greenwood

As another day draws to a close here on The Greenwood, I will follow Wren’s advice and get outside for a while – take a walk or visit with the horses at the barn. I will put my struggles on the back burner for the evening and enjoy the late-summer beauty that surrounds me. Tonight, perhaps a dream will send me the piece of the cosmic puzzle I need or perhaps the mystery will linger into the fall. It is hard not to be impatient, but as I watch the sun arc slowly across the sky and see the monarchs drift ever so gently south, it is clear that Nature has no use for hurry. That there is, in fact, “a time to every purpose under Heaven.” I will be content with that; content to wait until I am found.

The Weecher Bird

If I had a blog, today I would write about my family’s tendency to go on lyrics-safari when it comes to bird songs. It might be because we are a creative and humorous lot, but most of the time its a need for common sense ; a trait that sometimes seems lacking in the world of birding professionals.

Now, I grant you it is hard to put words to a melody that is not your own, especially when the composer is of the avian species, but when I read the description of  bird calls in field guides and online, I wonder, “What were they thinking?” For example, how many of us really think the brown thrasher sounds like he’s saying “plant a seed, plant a seed, bury it, bury it, cover it up, cover it up, let it grow, let it grow, pull it up, pull it up, eat it, eat it?”  I think that’s pretty ambitious even for a smart bird like the thrasher. So, in the face of this mishmash of lyrics, my family simply makes up our own “bird-words” and thus far, it has served us well.

Miss Carolina

Miss Carolina

First, there is The Weecher Bird, aka the Carolina Wren. I know this because it is the alarm that wakes me each morning, rain or shine. Miss Carolina sits outside my bedroom window and blasts me with her morning aria.”Weecher! Weecher! Weecher!” she proclaims over and over. Whatever it means in wren-speak, it certainly gets my blood flowing. According to “the experts,” the Carolina says “teakettle-teakettle” or “Germany-Germany,” but I assure you, my wren is using a song-book from a different conservatory.

The "Tornado Bird"

The “Tornado Bird”

Next we have The Tornado Bird, aka Tufted Titmouse. As a severe weather aficionado, I’ve tested this somewhat ominous lyric and amhappy to report  it does not correlate with the onset of storms.That said, if the titmice of the world could learn to forecast the weather, they would give meteorology an big push forward. In the meantime, I guess we’ll have to rely on Weather Underground to keep us informed.

The Titmouse Knows All

The Titmouse Knows All

Another name for the Titmouse is The Stupid Bird: This should, in no way, impugn the intelligence of my little grey friends. No, no. This song was written just for me. When Mr. Titmouse sings this song, his accuracy is depressingly accurate. The rapid-fire solo of “stupid-stupid-stupid!” is performed most often when I am working on some hare-brained carpentry project at the barn and, believe me little bird, you aren’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.

Psycho Bird

Psycho Bird

There is one more song that seems to rise above the others lately. It is the well known “what-cheer, what-cheer,” of the Northern Cardinal. In the past, I have been on the bandwagon with those who feel uplifted by this happy song, but this year, it is a cover for one particularly deranged red-bird.

The cardinal in question is obsessed with his reflection in car mirrors. We assume he thinks it is another bird, one he must drive out of his territory, but before we knew it, Mr. What Cheer had vandalized three of our vehicles to the point we had to have the mirrors replaced. We now keep the mirrors covered with removable bags, but I no longer feel my spirits lift when I hear the cardinal greet the day. I guess its true that “one bad apple (or cardinal) spoils the lot.”

With the fall migration coming on, I will soon be bombarded with new bird songs. I will hear the White-Throated Sparrow as he sings, Oh-sweet-canada-canada,”  the Dark-Eyed Junco’s “musical trill of 7-23 notes that resembles the Chipping Sparrow, the Pine Warbler and the Goldfinch” and  the Field Sparrow, whose song is described as “having the quality of a bouncing ball coming to rest.” I will be dumbfounded on a regular basis and although I will carry a field guide on my treks, I will be making notes in the margins; making my contribution to the worlds of music and bird watching as only one who knows The Weecher Bird can.