Sunday, December 11, 2016

Feeding peace, happiness and birds #phenology

Snow is still coming down. The Son-in-Law is running the snow blower on the driveway. White Christmas is on the TV. More Christmas cookies are being made. Lists of Christmas wishes are being scribbled or typed. Yesterday's photos pretty well capture the look and feel of the neighborhood. It's beginning to look a lot like Chr__________. (I bet you can fill in the blank.)

Earlier today I read an interesting piece on how Joni Mitchell's River came to be a Christmas song. For some folks, Christmas time can be depressing. This year I'm finding it to be more irritating than depressing, almost entirely for political reasons. Could be it's time to follow the old advice from doctors: "Doc, it hurts when I do that!" Dr.: "Don't do that!" Peace on Earth probably needs to start with Peace of Mind (no, not as in giving a piece of mind!) Seeing how our PEOTUS behaves tells me all I need to know about how I don't want to be. I wonder what he'd think of May Sarton's poem.

Chickadee feeding on sunflower seeds
Chickadee feeding on sunflower seeds
Photo by J. Harrington

Chickadees and their feathered friends help my peace of mind because they seem to really appreciate a full feeder when the weather gets wintry. The smaller woodpeckers will eat sunflower seeds if there's no suet, but show a strong affinity for suet. (I just wish it wasn't so pricey, but then we only offer it when the bears are in hibernation.) The pileated only shows up when there is suet to be had. Like our feathered friends, I need to appreciate what I have more than concentrate on what else I want. I could end up with peace and happiness to spare.

downy woodpecker feeding on suet
downy woodpecker feeding on suet
Photo by J. Harrington

The Work of Happiness


By May Sarton


I thought of happiness, how it is woven
Out of the silence in the empty house each day
And how it is not sudden and it is not given
But is creation itself like the growth of a tree.
No one has seen it happen, but inside the bark
Another circle is growing in the expanding ring.
No one has heard the root go deeper in the dark,
But the tree is lifted by this inward work
And its plumes shine, and its leaves are glittering.

So happiness is woven out of the peace of hours
And strikes its roots deep in the house alone:
The old chest in the corner, cool waxed floors,
White curtains softly and continually blown
As the free air moves quietly about the room;
A shelf of books, a table, and the white-washed wall—
These are the dear familiar gods of home,
And here the work of faith can best be done,
The growing tree is green and musical.

For what is happiness but growth in peace,
The timeless sense of time when furniture
Has stood a life's span in a single place,
And as the air moves, so the old dreams stir
The shining leaves of present happiness?
No one has heard thought or listened to a mind,
But where people have lived in inwardness
The air is charged with blessing and does bless;
Windows look out on mountains and the walls are kind.


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