Not so silent spring

The last few months have been hard for me and my little family here in California. But, throughout our little trials there has been some growth, some rebirth, some change. At least there was some forward motion, that’s always good.

We lost our little cockatiel, Mr. Charms, on Feb. 22nd. He was 27 years old and had an inoperable tumor on his esophagus. Putting him to sleep was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I was crying so hard as we petted him and talked to him that I thought I was going to leave my head. Maybe I did a little. I didn’t like the way they put him to sleep before they euthanized him, but there wasn’t anything I could do about that. It’s how it’s done. Wild animals don’t always get the same caring, humane treatment when we euthanize them, but I believe that’s beginning to change, at least in the wild circles in which I socialize. They had to stick his tiny little head in a chamber where they administered the gas drug, and he went to sleep right away.

So much has gone through my head these last few months. I have many ruminations, all of which come and go as I’m walking out in the hills, pondering the tiny little moths, the way the wind moves the grass, the wildflowers that have no name to me; just that-neat-purple-one, that bush-of-yellow-ones, that white one up on the hill that is so full and beautiful but is too far away to get a close look. You can only look longingly or fleetingly, like at the mockingbird that sings to you from among the oak, or at the cicada (or was that a cricket?) camouflaged against a nameless tree.


I’ve mostly been a bit beaten down, and trying to get my head clear again. I’ve had two or three bouts of the flu/cold nonsense over the last 6 months, I almost wacked off the tip of my finger on a stainless steel trashcan (it’s almost healed), and then, to top it all off, I had a stint in the emergency room just a few days ago for what is probably peptic ulcers. I’m trying to have a sense of humor about all of this, I really am. But this is the glorious thing about it all…

I’ve learned to slow down. Did you know that it takes the same amount of time to get up, shower, eat breakfast, feed your critters, etc. at a slow pace as it does if you go about it in a harried, quite unfashionable way? I’m thinking I might even take up reading the Wall Street Journal, I have so much leisure time in the morning.

The other thing that I’ve enjoyed in my sick/healing time at home is observing what critters I can from my little apartment porch. There’s the resident Anna’s Hummingbird at my feeder, the occasional house finch and phoebe, and then there are the crows. I just happened to be lucky enough, on two occasions, to see two or three crows defending their nests and young. Now, I actually didn’t see their nests or their young from my vantage point, but I knew what was going on because of their <call>. It’s a frantic call, and fast flying comes soon after. One crow starts flying frantically to the west, CAW-CAW-CAW. Then, I see another one coming in from the south, CAW-CAW-CAW. Then I see it, actually I see them, a Hawk and a Raven, being dive-bombed by the crows. They looked to be more concerned about the Raven, each taking their turn flying straight up and then diving at the Raven. The Raven was obviously flying away, it had either been dissuaded by the murder of crows or had already got what it came for. What a glorious thing to see, a little glimpse of a small war close to home.

It’s been a not so silent spring. I think throughout this all I’ve emerged a bit of a victor. It’s like nature said, take time to look at me, where’s the fire? Nature healed me, and I hope it continues to be my personal shaman.

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