The sun was so bright, the weather forecast so positive, that I couldn't resist stepping out the front door early in the morning to smell an early bit of spring. The daffodil shoots are tall enough now that I can see them from the kitchen window, bravely peeking from the dirt and the mulch, hoping it is safe enough to continue to shoot taller, without the possible enemies of snow, ice or squirrels to deter their growth.
A cardinal is singing a repetitive chorus and with a bit of looking I discover him high, very high, in my neighbor's dead tree. With every chorus, his tale jiggles, his tail quivers, as though he is putting his entire body into his song. Is it a mating call? Is he waiting for a sweet female with her brownish golden feathers to come by? Is he scoping out a nest site? And does it matter? It is spring and he is in tune with the world.
I'm not naive enough to believe that a warm middle-march day, one week before the equinox, means that spring is here to stay. The occasional 70-degree temperatures could just as easily be 30 or 40 a few days later. It spoils us and makes us forget how grateful we were for a 50 degree day earlier in the week. We must not forget.
Only a week before, when the snow was still on the ground, I saw this sweet
nuthatch bird at the feeder. He isn't a regular -- that seems to be the role of the sparrows and the occasional chickadee or woodpecker. (Note: Darlene -- whomever you are! -- identified this as a tufted titmouse. I've never seen one before, so thank you and consider it corrected!)
But he and his friend were flitting around the trees, diving in for a quick mouthful and fluttering out again -- not too far, just far enough.
On that high-50s day, the day before birdsong made me smile, I took my walk to the Ditch, observing not only the geese but the early signs of spring -- small buds on the trees, a jolly robin, skipping from tree to tree.
On the way home, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk crack and went down -- planting the already bad knee into the cement and twisting more than a bit uncomfortably. A young couple was approaching and kindly stopped, offering help. At first I said, "Oh, no. I'm fine," as I carefully stretched the leg to ensure there wasn't a break.
As I started to get up, I realized, it was uncharitable to say "no." They were being kind. And one must accept, be grateful, for kindness. Being kind is a gift and accepting it is a quiet way of making those who offered happy that they could help. So, I asked them to stay till I was up and walking, turned about to rise and when the young man offered his arm, gratefully accepted. As they moved on, I felt this overwhelming sense of thanks for their kindness. All was well (apart from a very big bruise and some leftover hurt). But it could have been so much worse.
And so, on the day after, that warm 70s day, I returned to the "scene of the crime," that pesky spot on the sidewalk, in search of the prescription glasses that must have fallen from my head when I took a tumble. They weren't at home, in my jacket or at Rick's. And no, they weren't there either. But in a stroke of good fortune, my new glasses were ready for pick-up. Timing is everything.
A bit later, I thought I'd check again. Some unknown angel had found the old glasses and placed them on the branches of the tree beside which I'd fallen. I just hadn't looked up before. Yes, grateful.
Small gifts come in many ways. Saturday morning I looked out the living room window into the brush near the fence. To my surprise, I saw this.
Five beautiful deer were resting in the covered area, as peacefully as they could be.
I got my camera and they looked up, posing, in a way, although I suspect their gaze was less for the photo than an alertness as to whether or not they were still safe. I was inside; they were out. Yes, they were safe.
We watched each other, very quietly, for a long while until one by one they stood up, stretched their legs, and gracefully hopped the fence into the neighbor's yard.
It was a breathtaking way to begin the day.
And then there is this one.
My sunflowers are fading, replaced by a bunch of grocery-store daffodils, their trumpeter faces beaming bright yellow. They will not last either, nor will the warm and sunny day. But there will be other sunny days to come -- and in good time, enough daffodils in my yard to bring in yet another bouquet.
Life is good.