Seasons of Me!

"A glimpse into the life of a birder, beach comber, self taught naturalist, an antique dealer, and junker! There are many seasons that happen here!"

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

~ A Summer of Seeing ~

Always I have seen the beauty of the birds, the butterflies and damselflies, the bees and the bugs, the flowers and the trees. I have seen the beauty of the skies, the clouds, and the rain. But this summer...I have really seen. Something this summer seems different--something has seemed to change. A new inner peace has seemed to find me ~ I am learning more of the things of importance, of how to slow down and take the time for the beauty that is before each and every one of us if we only elect to see...

This summer I have looked out and over the wooded hillsides and I have seen green as I have never seen before. My eyes have scanned and felt the wildflowers, a simple cabbage white butterfly caught my eye. I have watched a ruby-throated hummingbird display to his mate in wide arcs and seen a male cardinal lovingly and gently feed his gal a sunflower seed. I have seen him display to her in his head held high and arched tail flight singing all the while. I am learning that it is okay to play in the rain. I watched a monarch caterpillar grow before my eyes and baby robins learn to fly. I have seen the biggest and puffiest of cumulous clouds ever to see. Daily I watched robins bathe and preen in my yard and nightly have listened to the un-ending songs of a mockingbird. Amazed by his repotoire as I kept track of how many different birds he mimicked and took to the clues that he has not always been a neighborhood bird by the songs he sang of birds that are not in my "hood". A cecropia moth took my breath away while a zebra swallowtail bedazzled me. Chuck-wills-widows lulled me and a displaying male turkey impressed even me along with the females he was in front of. I have looked upon the young of tree swallows, bluebirds, and carolina chickadees. I have trembled at the song of a wood thrush and have cried at the sight of a blue grosbeak lying dead on the road. I watched a tree swallow retrieve a feather lost from its nest and I ached over the beauty of the color of its feathers. I have looked a bee eye to eye on a butterfly bush. Cricket frogs have revebrated through my heart and my ears perked up immediately upon hearing the annual cicadas strike up a chord. Chimney swifts chittered to me incessantly and I was refreshed by the rain. I looked upon lightning bugs as I have not done since I was a little girl. I watched terns take flight and imagined in my mind what their view from above was like. I have felt the tips of "my wings" get wet while following along with the pelicans. I have felt the fog--the fog felt me....I have teetered with turkey vultures in flight and watched red-tail hawks soar beyond my eyes capabilities and have still been with them! Fowler toads and american toads sang extra loud this year or am I just more tuned in? Instead of me trying to wind my eyes around the tree trying to see the red-headed woodpecker--he wound his around to see me. Face to face with a nashville warbler I was while a magnolia warbler sang above. I waded along side the skates and admired their graceful ways...I righted a horse shoe crab and helped her get back on her way and then I traveled with her in my mind for days! I picked up sea pansies as if from a field and felt the wonder of nature that was right at my heels. I looked down through the calm ocean waters and found big whelks. I seen the passions of mated terns and felt real honored to be in their world. Baby great horned owls discovered me....Flocks of cedar waxwings flew overhead and I noticed their oneness in their wispy calls. Colors were more vibrant and songs were well heard. The skies seemed bigger and deeper and the moons were deeper full. The smallest of sights were big in my eyes. Milkweed and butterfly weed have been loaded full. I watched the rushed pace of a big water beetle scurry away from the morning light. Last night the katydids began--marking the mark of a "certain" seasons end.

Observations that I made seemed so unreal but so and one, vibrant and free, the smallest of counts all included and seen. This account of seeing could go on and on as that is how much I seen...I hope the summer of seeing never ceases to be.

Monday, June 21, 2010

~ Room 408 ~

Room 408...from room 408 I saw life...I felt life...From room 408 I encountered a great spiritual uplifting. From room 408 I watched, heard, absorbed the rhythms of life and set my own rhythm by it.
Room 408 was our ocean front room where we spent two days and nights before continuing further down the outer banks.
The first thing I did when we entered the room was open the balcony door, step out, and breath in deeply the ocean air. Refreshing! I sat out there endlesslly watching over and over the rolling waves and listening as the waves resonated off of my soul. The door stayed open as we slept and tried hard I did not to fall asleep as I did not want to miss a single wave. Several times through the night I would awaken to listen again and walk out on the balcony to feel the ocean night air. And as I opened my eyes in the morning I was greeted by the new day coming up over the ocean ~ and at night the day bid me farewell by the most magnificient rising and full moon over the ocean. The kind you see in picture books...the kind you see in your dreams.
From room 408 I seen the calmest of calm that I have ever seen the Atlantic ocean. With its calmness I encountered one of the most calmest and serene days of my life. We were in sync...
From room 408 I watched the sanderlings keeping stride with the remnants of the rollers. I found myself full of envy that I could not day after day follow the waves as they could. I long to be as free and as unencumbered as they are.
Yes, from room 408 I had views upon views...endless and stirring. Many times it became hard for me to just view--I had to go down and become part of the view. As I was in the view I looked back up at my room--my balcony with my spotting scope sitting there untended. I also looked around at the other rooms and seen others on their balconies taking in a view. In my mind I was urging them to come down also and become a part of it all. But then I realized...they were already a part of it...the picture was big and the realm of the ocean enveloped us all...mind, body, spirit. We were all drawn to these rooms to have a view of that which mostly cannot be seen. Mine just happened to be room 408.
Today, I feel like a sanderling....

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

~ Three Mile Solace ~

On most days, at some point in time, we take a three mile walk. I call this walk my "solace walk". This is my me time, my quiet time. I find my peace from all worries and stresses of the day. I clear my mind and balance my harmony. Most of the walk is in silence as I take in the fresh air, the openness, the view of the clouds and blue sky. I take in the sun or no, the undulating hills whether they be covered in green, trees, corn, or snow--the undulations are the same but the view changes from day to day, season to season. I also take in the bird song around me. It changes also from morning to evening and also with the seasons. We see sun rises and sunsets, moon rises and we sometimes feel the rain. The elements all change too, but the solace I seek --it remains the same.
We see and hear beauty along the way -- we see big and we see small. We might covet over the gazoos of caterpillars taking the same walk as we, or we might stop and watch the stillness of a deer watching us. We watch turkeys display and rabbits play. We hear distant calls of bobwhite quail and see raccoons scurrying down the trail. We take in the sights of the flowers as they change through the seasons -- and the color! We pass "woodcock woods" and we pass by wooded areas and take in the songs of birds that visually elude us and hear scurries of other creatures unknown. Snakes sun themselves in the spring and we have assisted more than one box turtle crossing the road. I always look forward to hearing the "fitz-bew" of the willow flycatcher near our turn around point and the sights of the baltimore orioles along their "row". The orchard orioles and blue grosbeaks have their areas also. We watch a particular creek for the ebony jewelwing damselflies and the chipmunks along the tree line across the way. Yogi's "rocky falls" holds child like visions for us as we pass by. It is one of those dark and mysterious places where you want to wander, but do not dare! One of those places where fairies may lurk. The crickets chirping in the fall sound really "fall like" and sometimes lonely and melancholy. The jewel weed patch holds jewels to be sure!
We have seen triumphs and tragedies along the way. Life and death. Baby birds just out of the nest and critters who did not make it through the night. We have witnessed the passing of seasons. The songs change with the seasons bringing a total new life to our walk. No matter the changes though, peace and comfort are always there in the that same three changing miles...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

~ Sea Harmony ~

On the Outer Banks of North Carolina there is this beach we know...We call it "Sea Glass Beach" because we have found some of our most beautiful sea glass pieces here including our only two pieces of purple. We could very well call this beach by many different names as it is a multi-faceted beach but yet so well intertwined in the most perfect way. As a beach should be...

For the most part it appears to be a secluded beach as we very seldom see any other people there. You can walk in either direction ~for hours~and never see another human being, but neither desolate or deserted is it ever. This beach appears to be in sync and in harmony with the world that seems to appear mostly just in mind. We know that when we cross over the dunes that we are the intruders here. For the many times that we have been there though I think that this beach is beginning to include us in that harmony as it now speaks to us as we stroll along. We are as one and at peace with this beach.

On a recent visit here I fully realized that. This particular stroll brought to me the most peace ever in my life. It was as if I could finally slow down to go with its pace, my eyes were suddenly opened and I seen things so much more plainly--simple things that had been there all along. I heard many whispers, gathered many secrets, and rejoiced in many revelations. I was one with this beach and was one with all of life. The birds spoke with me as if I was one of them ~and I understood. The waves caressed me and I felt loved. The sand made sculptures as the wind caressed it and natures most finest art was on display. Everything was here, everything was now. This was the moment.

When we first came over the dunes my breath was instantly taken as it seemed as if I was seeing, for the first time, the miles of white capped rollers lulling up on the beach. Perhaps it WAS really my FIRST time of SEEING. And I FELT it. The next thing that was really striking to me was the large, very large, flotilla of brown pelicans with more joining them as we watched. I was mesmerized by the busyness of this flock. After the last one landed, the first one took flight and one after another they all followed suit creating a long line of wave skimmers. The line undulated as the waves rose, rolled, and fell. The pelicans were thoroughly enjoying the ride and were totally synchronized with one another. All in harmony.

As we walked down the beach I got caught up in the great numbers of sanderlings that were scurrying along. The whole length of our walk were sanderlings by our side. Keeping us company and keeping in time to the rythyms that were here--all heart. These are the kind of wave runners that I like! They are energetic busy bodies. They are highly driven at everything they do. Even at going to take a nap. We watched a flock scurry quickly up the beach, congregate and lie in a close knit circle--facing the wind...always. Restless they were or wanted a new view as one by one each bird would get up only to walk a few steps forward to settle in front of the next bird--on and on the sanderling shuffle went and the napping congregation itself was walking as a whole. Do they ever truly rest? True beach combers they are and my mind goes as fast as their legs go as I wonder about the beaches they have covered.

This beach and all of its completeness totally enveloped me on this day. And with each new step my eyes, my heart, and my soul opened up and welcomed the completeness, vitality, and life that this environment was lending me. And just when I thought all was complete, here came another facet of the beach. At a distance I could see a big black flock of flight coming nearer and nearer to shore. The immensity of this flight was incredible. Cormorants...hundreds and hundreds of cormorants...a pelican for its leader and two pelicans for the tail end charlies. Cormorants...a common enough bird--but put them into a flight this thick and out over an ever-wandering, ever life-giving ocean and you get a whole new wonder for them! The beauty was in numbers and the not knowing from what never-land they just came from and which one they were going too.

Terns zipped by and over in scattered numbers. Their voices lent to the wildness of ocean life and beauty. This is how its supposed to sound...Ruddy turnstones wandered by and willets casually meandered. Black bellied plovers were present also. This place is well known to the birds they find peace.

This beach spoke volumes with me that day. It showed me what was right and what was real. I FELT it---I felt the harmony. It showed me how life should be~uncomplicated, beautiful, and all in harmony. There was a full circle here--there is no doubt. No need too. The sheer numbers of life here told the whole story. This was by no means a desolate beach--quite the opposite. It is a beach of life! I hope nature will always have its spaces and places like this for lifes sake!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Summer Prescence

A spring just would not be spring without the chimney swifts. A summer would not be complete without being able to see the trio flights and listening to their twittering chatter and a fall just does not wind down until you watch a funneling mass of migrating swifts go to roost in a chimney. In the winter I often reflect back on the chimney swifts prescence as I look up into a bare and naked sky. The winter skies just seem so void of life sometimes. Chimney swifts just seem to knit together the seasons as they spastically and erratically zip around.

I sit here now, watching the swifts, having much to say about them but yet struggling for the words that sum them up without sounding like a text book. I think the swifts are, for me, all heart and a wisp of a soul and sometimes that is just hard to dictate into words.

I adore the chimney swifts. They are a sign and a symbol for me of many things, but mainly for the vibrance of life...not in physical color but in all emotions and praise on high! I anxiously await their arrival in the spring which for here at home is around April 22. I keep my eyes to the sky but to no avail because it is usually my ears that detect their prescence first....and more often it comes to me like a memory until my eyes become firm on the vision. And although I know my ears can be trusted when it comes to this "angelic whisper", there is something sweet about the memory of a song.

To briefly sum up the heart and wisp of a soul of a chimney swift in my sparse and human vocabulary is to say that I adore its ever-seemingly happy and thankful moods, I adore its energy, I adore its passion, and I adore the way it connects to my heart and soul, the way it grabs it and does not let go. Wherever I am at, whatever I am doing--the chimney swift will always grab my attention! I am thankful for this "life is grand--don't let it slip by--take the time--live for the moment" opportunity. It is a life lesson.

The swift is the epitomy of summer--it completes it, makes it whole. The swift reaks of summer and of life~ of all life! I am struggling here for the words~ I feel it all swelled and bulging in my heart and the feelings overflow through my vision when I watch them, but alas~I think I have found an emotion which has no spelling, one that has no description or physical being. It is a prescence only...A bird of feeling only. A prescence among the ether world that slips into our reality....