Saturday, December 5, 2015

Keeping my Eyes Open

It's the time of year again when the days are short and the skies are mostly gray, but the older I get, the more that seems to make the occasional blue sky days seem even more golden.  And despite today's rain, the sweet fragrance of winter-blooming Vibernum 'Pink Dawn' still wafts through the raindrops to my screened porch, and even the leaf-covered soil in the surrounding beds smells good to me.  However, I am well aware that my perspective is colored by being fortunate to have a warm and cozy house that makes winter's chill easy to escape.  With so many in our region struggling to keep any kind of roof over their head, I never want to take my luck for granted or be intolerant of a different view of things.

It's so easy for us humans to assume that we are seeing the whole picture at first glance, but time and again I am reminded to keep looking deeper. For instance, the other day when it was sunny and bright, I had the great fortune to look out the front window when a small flock of female Cedar Waxwings settled in for lunch in my Beautyberry bush (Callicarpa).  At first I was a little sad for them, as over the past week many Chickadees, Song Sparrows, Wrens, and other Waxwings had already been feasting, and it didn't look there was much left.  That feeling was short-lived though, as I watched this determined trio hopping to and fro, balancing perfectly to stretch out towards the iridescent purple clusters on the tiniest branch tips that no one else had been able to reach.  They continued meticulously until they had picked off each and every berry that was left, then flew to the top of the bush, fluffed up their feathers, and preened in the sun.  These beautiful little birds were just going about their daily lives, but to me it was another good lesson on keeping my eyes open, no matter what things look like at first glance.   To have "lunch with the Waxwings" was quite a gift, and one that I will treasure in my mind's eye for a long time too.