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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Warbling birds in the mornings; scampering squirrels on the deck; chattering chipmunks playing chase; giggling children romping in the yard; rustling leaves on a windy day; distant drums of a marching school band at practice; neighbors greeting each other as they cross paths on the sidewalk; whistling tea kettle sounding the alert that the water is ready! There are so many sounds of life, sounds we take for granted. Sounds of love, sounds of warning, sounds of alarm, sounds of joy, sounds of busyness. Sounds! I’ve wanted to express gratitude for sounds in this medium for some time but was never quite sure how to do so. As I age, sounds gradually become more muted. During my last check up the doctor commented on the scar tissue growing on my ear drums which explains why sounds are not so clear to me anymore. Frustrating. Since that visit I find myself paying closer attention to the sounds around me, sounds I have taken for granted. I do not think that this will lead to the total loss of hearing, but it may lead to the use of hearing aids sometime down the line. So today I listen. I soak in the sounds around me. I pay attention to how different birds communicate with their various types of chirping and warbling. I listen to the wind in the trees, and the staccato sound of squirrels quarreling with each other. The sound of traffic on a nearby street offers rhythmic background music for the sounds emanating from my back yard. I soak up every sound my grandchildren make and relish the music they create in my heart. I watch and listen to the sparrows lined up on the fence as they chatter with each other every morning. I am perpetually grateful for sounds.

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Yes, deer are a nuisance, especially if one has spent time and money to plant veggies and herbs (and flowers) but they are beautiful animals none the less. A couple of days ago (on a rare occasion when I did not have my camera handy) a doe and two spotted fawn (twins!) ambled through our yard. To date we have had a large variety of birds, squirrels, chipmunks, cat and deer visit this place. Last night Richard saw what he thinks is a possum scamper up our driveway. And of course, there are the ubiquitous rabbits who have a burrow somewhere along the back of the property. The animals don’t bother me. In fact I get immense pleasure watching their antics. Of course my gardening is relegated to pots on the deck (actually, pots lined up on the cover of the old, broken down jacuzzi that will be towed away by the end of the summer . . . I hope.) At any rate, I caught this deer last night as the sun was low in the western sky. Beautiful creature. I am grateful for the variety of wildlife that enjoys our yard.

The phone rang and surprisingly Richard picked it up. He never answers the phone! When he hung up he told me M, our neighbor two doors down, had left a bag of goodies by the kitchen door. When I retrieved the bag, it was filled with fresh scallions, parsley and basil from her garden. The lilies pictured here grow in M’s yard. Our neighbor on the west side of our house stops to chat when he sees me trimming back the rhododendron bushes. Neighbors to the east moved into their home just weeks before we took possession of this house. We talk over the fence and share notes on the joys and trials of moving into a new home and neighborhood. I haven’t officially met the neighbors across the street to the north, but we wave to each other when we are out. They seem friendly and their young daughter and their neighbor’s daughter (northwest of us) enjoy playing with each other, and I enjoy hearing their laughter while I work in our yard. We have new neighbors that began moving in to their home just yesterday, also across the street from us, northeast corner. Part of what makes a home warm and welcoming is the community where one lives. This is proving to be an inviting community. This is also a multi-cultural community. When I look at those who surround us with open arms, we are different races, religions, cultures, ages, and interests, yet neighborliness characterizes the people on the street where we live. I am truly grateful for this home and our wonderful neighbors!

This morning it rained. Our parched, burnt lawn attests to the fact that we have been in a drought. We don’t water our lawn because . . . well, because. It seems a waste when water is scarce. Droughts come and go and so does green grass. But it is surely nice when all is lush and succulent, you know, that hydrated look. We don’t have that now; just the dry, brown, brittle grass. But, it rained this morning and we are told that more is on the way. Today I am mucho grateful for the rain. Don’t you love the smell after the rains come? Fragrant and fresh. Well, that is what it smells like now, fragrant and fresh. I am grateful for the rain.

This has been a grueling school quarter. The amount of work, coupled with the difficulty of the material covered, has made this one of the most un-enjoyable terms to date. On the bright side however, it is almost behind me. There are papers to finish but by Wednesday evening or Thursday morning, m”H, it will be done. And in truthfulness, I have learned a LOT! But I am also looking forward to enjoying my yard (the tiger lily pictured here grows along the side of our garage), spending quality time with Richard, seeing some family, and generally just taking it easy until the next quarter begins in July. But the toughest course of this program will be behind me. This morning as I sit here drinking my coffee and watching the birds and chipmunks enjoy the food and water I “serve” them everyday, I am filled with gratitude that another school quarter is drawing to a close.

Not too many years ago, I thought that bird watching was definitely one of the most boring hobbies EVER! How could someone sit for hours watching birds do their thing? As I’ve grown older however, I’ve discovered that birds are quite entertaining. I am learning to recognize each warble and match the sound to its species, which I am also learning to recognize. My makeshift feeder and baths are a magnet to birds of every size and color. And there is definitely a pecking order for which bird rules our deck at any given time. I have become one of those who can spend hours watching their antics. With a camera always close at hand, I have captured some of their character and beauty. Even Richard has been charmed by “my” birds since we have settled in our new place. I know they will bring joy and color to our yard for as long as we are here. I am grateful for the joy of birdwatching! 🙂

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