Monday, December 21, 2020

Winter Solstice

I admit some days are harder than others, when it comes to being content to scale back, reflect, and revel in good memories, instead of making new ones. Since March, and sincerely, I have declared that I am glad for all the travel, visits, celebrations, gatherings, events, and adventures we have enjoyed, because the memory of them, the pictures, even blog posts, have been lovely to revisit, have given me a happy, thankful heart. It's not any less true, but this week, with Christmas coming, and Solstice, and all of the traditions, and expectations I cherish, being turned on end, cancelled, I have been struggling... struggling to devise new plans, to feel inspired. I feel really really really sad that we won't have an open home tonight, that we won't see the kitchen full of friends plating up potluck, juggling, laughing. I am sad I can't (shouldn't) dash up to Oregon, keep Mom and Dad company, offer support. Stop me! This list could go on, and on. And it's even sadder when I contemplate on the bigger losses, and that disappointment, and struggle is happening for just about everyone. I am sorry. Truly sorry, for whatever you are missing, for the something you long for to make these days brighter, that can't be had.

I fed the goats and chickens, then mindfully walked around to the front of the house. I was hoping to spy birds at the wreath, again, like yesterday. I sat down. I heard birds in the shrubs behind my chair. I saw the bunny that lives on the slope, hop out of the orchard and head back into the undergrowth beneath one Torrey Pine. New bird songs drew my attention to the tops of the Torreys, and I wished I'd worn my glasses. But there were my binoculars, the $5 pair that work well enough. With naked eyes, I scanned the branches for movement, and then brought up the binoculars... a woodpecker! On a pinecone, finding something tasty, maybe the big pine nuts. Could be a Nutall's woodpecker. (Why won't my Merlin app update anymore?) I watched the woodpecker move from one pinecone to another. I saw a Western Kingbird in the bare tree by the trashcans. We always debate about taking that tree down, because it's half dead, and always looks shabby, but it's the same tree where we see cedar waxwings every year. And the goats love the big, crunchy leaves that the tree drops. The tree stays. And the leaves stay... I read about how all of the fussing with manicured lawns, and raking every last leaf is leaving our gardens bare of biodiversity, so we scaled back on all of that. I can see a big difference. We have more birds than ever, and they are visiting the ground, where leaves, and decomposing bits are housing bugs and good things to eat, they are in the shrubs, and the canopies of the tree, at the birdbath.

I am not sure what else I will be doing today, and I would like it to be special. But I know it started special, and I am glad for that... just those few minutes of sitting, and observing, of reflecting on some simple choices we've made, and what I have learned, and hope to learn, calmed and centered me, eased my mind. It's no small thing, and I cannot take it for granted: We have a birdhouse home, a place that we share, and enjoy, where we are visited by many birds, and many kinds of birds, a place where we have been blessed with opportunities, safety, comfort, company, and time. To observe all of this makes me happy, and feels like a worthy celebration of another trip around the sun.

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