Songbirds

The seeds on the flowers have ripened to perfection. This morning, four finches were sharing the same plant. I wish I could learn to have my camera ready. By the time I was prepped, the dogs had scattered the birds.
When seeds are good, the finches cling upside down and gorge themselves.
If I were a fastidious gardener, these flowers would have been deadheaded and the finches wouldn’t have been attracted to my back door.
Somehow, this makes my laissez faire seem enlightened.

I’ve just finished reading Peter Heller’s ‘The Dog Stars’, and it’s made this tiny episode more poignant.

In his post apocalyptic story, there are no more songbirds.
Most of the people are gone too, victims of a flu pandemic.
Entire forests were gone.

The narrator, Hig, and his pup co-pilot Jasper, traverse the mountains and valleys of Colorado in a 1950’s Cessna, searching for human life.

It’s a compelling tale of a world we hope to never know, but like ‘The Road,’ by Cormac McCarthy, it’s a beautiful story of a soul who still has hope and a good heart.

When the stress is too much, my husband needs to stand in a river and cast a line to a trout.
Hig has lots of time to fish, but his trout are long gone.

In Heller’s story, the climate continues warming, and the rains have lost all seasonal reliability. The streams have bottomed out.

There are no more songs. The songbirds are gone.

I hung our feeders last week to encourage the birds to winter with us.
They make my life better.
The hummingbirds headed south this week. It was like family leaving after summer vacation.
They chattered to us through our screen door all summer. They visited Jim at the feeder he kept topped off by his office, where they had daily conversations.
They’ve been loyal companions in the garden.
We’re blessed that they choose to share their summer with us.
And every year, their family grows.

This summer, I’ve been consumed by the trees. Water has been sparse, and the leaves have dropped in defeat.
Too many of our greatest beauties are struggling.
I can’t explain it with any scientific integrity.

Consternation and worry flutter in my heart.

This entry was posted in Books, Nature and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply