Winter blew in yesterday. Our wind chimes sung like crazy baritones with each sweep of air. The crimson leaves of the Japanese maple flew across the deck, the leaves shimmering in the rain. Barren trees, fifty feet tall or more — sycamore, oak, maple, hackberry, and walnut — scrambled skyward in the woods beyond our yard. The tallest branches glow like gold as the sun sets.
Each morning a pregnant squirrel feeds on our buff colored papyrus in the little pond. She scampers across a railing, drops to the rim of the pond, and snaps a papyrus stem free. This morning she broke loose a long stem with its fluffy seed panicle and carried it across a bench and up onto a railing. Holding the stem in its front paws and quickly nibbling along the softer stem parts, the squirrel managed a balancing act akin to a high wire acrobat.
Our bird feeder attracts cardinals, chickadees, and sparrows. Their pecking and squirrel raids cause seeds to fall onto the the deck where doves flock for lunch. The arrival of birds flying through to feed mark the change of seasons. Just as the wrens announce spring, the disappearance of yellow finches mark winter’s inevitable chill.
These scenes are visible through French doors from the same room where we read and watch television. It’s a deliberate choice to savor the view through the windows, to take in the natural order of plants and creatures, to enjoy the repetitive reminder of the natural order of life versus the sincere attempts of humans to analyze experience and opine on behaviors.
“Have you been outside recently,” I asked a grandchild who was studying intently for exams.
“Not lately,” she said.
“All you have to do is turn the door knob and step outside; it’s not hard at all.”