Thursday, January 29, 2015

The more things change, the more...

One of the nice things about my digital photo library is that it's easy to compare year to year what triggered a flurry of photo taking. For the most part in years past, the last couple of weeks of January have not prompted much photography. This year is following the same pattern. Birds, plus occasional sunshine and shadows, are about all that appears active. The number of chickadees coming to and going from the feeders today seems beyond counting. They move quickly enough that they may well be uncountable. A hairy woodpecker is hopping about the bare branches of an oak tree, waiting for an opening at the suet. Yesterday, a pileated woodpecker fed briefly before hippy-dippy flying away at movement (mine) inside the house. Goldfinches have been scarce around the feeders during the past several days, maybe due to our lack of snow storms (not that I'm complaining about that).

chickadee and goldfinches at feeders
Photo by J. Harrington

However, out of sight in the woods nearby, I suspect there's a black bear sow giving birth to cubs. At least I hope so. Bringing in feeders and keeping the trash can in the garage for Spring, Summer and Autumn are minor annoyances, while watching bear cubs cavort during those same times of year is a major pleasure. So, while bears are birthing, others in the neighborhood are just getting around to mating. This is the time of Winter that raccoons and foxes start thinking about more than food and sleeping. Great horned owls may have started nesting a couple of weeks ago. One of the things I enjoy about Minnesota's seasons is the way there's often some kind of overlap in them. Each seems to foretell the one that follows. If you're interested in resources for what to look for day to day throughout the seasons, I can recommend Jerry Wilbur's Wit and Wisdom of the Great Outdoors, Larry Weber's Backyard Almanac and Jim Gilbert's Nature Notebook.

It took nature thousands of years plus to work out these seasonal timing arrangements. It took us and the industrial revolution less than two hundred years to mess them up. How long do you think it will take us to fix that? Maybe, with the help of god, not long.

Change

By Wendy Videlock 
Change is the new,

improved

word for god,

lovely enough
to raise a song

or implicate

a sea of wrongs,
mighty enough,

like other gods,

to shelter,
bring together,

and estrange us.

Please, god,
we seem to say,

change us.


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