Another day in Paradise

I was walking in paradise again this week after a long absence from the Alouette Dike, partly because I was away on summer holiday and then in Vancouver looking after cats.

Birds are flocking prior to their migration south. It’s getting colder. Up by the big oak tree, I could see black birds arriving like dive bombers with a tic. They would flap their wings furiously for a half second then bring their wings close to their body and propel forward like a bullet. When the momentum failed the wings would start again flapping furiously.

With wings outstretched, a cape of scarlet red spread wide across the shoulders. In bullet form hurtling through space, the red could no longer be seen. So these flashes of scarlet kept coming on towards me and the tree, but of course, they were going so fast there was no hope of a photo.

These are red-winged blackbirds and we seldom see so many at one time. There are ones that live here all year long; but there are some that have summered up north and will winter down south. They stop by here to see their more (relatively) sedentary cousins, then go forth. It seemed like there were hundreds of them in that one tree plus the ones coming from afar to catch up with their local kin.

There is an excellent Wikipedia description of this bird and their habits, if you care to go looking. Just Google red winged black bird.

Our days have been sunny, but the temperature is dropping dramatically. It was 3 degrees above, Celcius, last night and tonight it may hit zero. There was hard frost in Burnaby but none here.  While the afternoon was pleasant at about 14 degrees, the evening became crisp and cold.  Knowing this would be so, I have brought in all my tomatoes from the garden with the exception of the “cherry” tomatoes that are hard and bright green, no trace of yellow.  They look like marbles that kids would play with.

In the back yard when I went out to the compost pile (which by the way is a haven for compost denizens these days with all the fruit peelings I’ve been contributing – nectarines, peaches, pears, quetches and the like) I heard a clamor in the trees that was unusual.

I don’t think I ever had seen so many robins flocking together at once. They are stocking up on food for the long flight south. All our fruiting trees were plentifully adorned this year and there is lots left to glean. Both in the cherry tree and in the mountain ash, there are fruits that have gone to alcohol. The dear little robins are a little cocky. They don’t fly away when I get closer to them. Some are a little less steady on the branch. Some are greedy, with little bunches of red berries hanging from their beaks as they ponder how they can have them and eat them too.

I savor these moments.

I remember mama when she could no longer hear the birds, and so I am always thankful for my still good hearing and my still good sight.

It is, over and above, the Canadian weekend for celebrating Thanksgiving. I went with a friend to Dorothy’s new-to-her house for dinner this evening. It was scrumptious and wonderful – ham, fennel in garlic and parsley butter, scalloped potatoes and Concord grape pie with ice cream for dessert. Dorothy had invited one of her friends too, so we had some riotous conversation that had us laughing merrily.

I’m especially thankful for friends and for family – Hugh, Ron,Lizbet, Heather and her husband. Here’s wishing that you, too, recognize the Paradise that we live in, whatever that may be for you, and enjoy it while it is here.

Happy Thanksgiving, to all.

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2 Responses to “Another day in Paradise”

  1. WR Jones Says:

    That line about hear the birds is so telling. We must appreciate what we have.

  2. lookingforbeauty Says:

    Bill,
    It’s the honest truth. We just have to appreciate all that is good, in the moment.
    K

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