I heard a meadowlark in the honey locust right outside our bedroom window yesterday morning. Five years ago, I wouldn't have paid much attention to this. Birds didn't impress me too much. I thought it was pretty neat that they existed and flew and stuff, but I didn't really notice them much. But now, I can't help but notice them. This may sound a bit too groovy, even for me, but I think they make me notice them.
Since living here on the Homestead, they have become hugely symbolic for me. They are one of the first signs of spring. And, I'm not sure why this is, but I notice them now in a fairly big way. Actually, I do know why this is. It's because we live in a quiet place with a 120 year old apple orchard. Birds love this place. The trees are so old and gnarled the birds have turned each tree into a bird house. They are so beautifully worn, with perfect holes that lead to some cavernous wonderland inside. I expect woodland creatures to pop out of them and start talking to me.
When the Northern Flicker calls, I hear it. Above the din of two children, music, husband and general household noisiness, I hear that bird, like it is calling to me. Before realizing it, I am out the door trying to find it. I talk to it, telling it how handsome it is, asking it not to fly away. Saying things like "I won't hurt you birdy-wirdy, don't worry." Truly feeling breathless with fascination when I get within viewing distance of such an elusive creature. I think it is magic.
Yesterday must have been the first time the meadowlark whistled its song outside my window because I heard it loud and clear. The pathways in my brain are there now: I hear birds. Not all. Some of the little chirpy birds that don't seem to have distinct calls are lost on me. But those songbirds and flickers really get my attention. The flickers, only because they are annoying enough to drown out the rest of the chirping. The meadowlarks, though, are so sing-songy it makes me smile.
My husband's mother was a real bird lover and noticer. She could name birds that flitted past her window without too much hesitation. I'm not there. In fact, I don't know many of the birds that make the Homestead their home, but the few that I do notice I consistently notice and have formed a bit of a relationship with.
These fascinating flying creatures are wild with excitement this time of year. The orchard is chattering with calls that sound like baby cries, whistles, fire engines, cats meowing and cats purring, clicks, chirps and chitter-chatter. It's truly amazing.