Friday, November 21, 2008

THE YARD IN LATE NOVEMBER


Redwing blackbirds nested in the big lilac this year. I was never quite sure exactly where the nest was located. I only knew it was there at all because of the reaction I got whenever I passed by, and they would come out to clack at me from the nearby honey locust. Now the birds are gone, and the little nest is quite exposed. I’m wondering how long, without the protection of the lilac leaves, before the winter gales off the lake bring it down. It surely wasn’t built to last. That would be a waste of energy, and Nature never does that.

Camouflaged in the faded grass between the back of the garage and the side of the porch, a female Cardinal lies, lovingly shrouded in golden leaves. There was no sign of a window strike or a predatory cat, so I think she may have died of natural causes. Cardinals are extremely pair-bonded, so somewhere there must be a bright male who will spend the winter alone. Hopefully, when spring returns he’ll find a new mate.

The increasingly cold weather has bleached the deep-hued, almost leathery leaves of the red maples, first to a fine sherry color, and now a dry tobacco brown. Then several days of high winds have sent them scurrying into the corner of the breakwall parapet for shelter. They can’t stay there; they’ll just dam up the drainage and make a mildew-y mess if left to over-winter. Soon the lawn man will come with his leaf blower and take them away for mulch.

All the patio furniture that can fit into the garage has been put away; everything left out will become an armature for snow sculptures. Eventually, wind will pile drifts up to the doorknobs, and the bedroom inside will be a little darker. Down below in the sandy soil are the sleeping eggs of crickets who sang me to sleep me all those humid summer evenings.

For now, the lake still has its voice - sometimes a roar, sometimes a murmur - but the silence of winter is coming, and one day it will be cold enough to hush every wave. But then the bustle of birds and squirrels jockeying for space at the feeder will fill my bootprints with scattered sunflower seeds, make me smile, and liven even the shortest, dreariest days.

11 comments:

Poetikat said...

Your description of the winter to come makes me anticipate it with pleasure. I feel certain that this winter will inspire much poetry.
We have a new regular on the porch this season - an oven bird. Along with the pair of white-crowned sparrows, juncos, cardinals, bluejays, nuthatches and chickadees, surprise avian visitors are always welcome.

I envy you your proximity to the lake.

Kat

Rose said...

A beautiful post...you painted the pictures so vividly with your words.

Sylvia K said...

You do indeed paint beautifully with your words so much so I could see it in my mind without looking at the photo, but I'm glad it was there. It's a lovely shot.

me ann my camera said...

How beautifully written this is, this poetic prose. I felt the tranquility of your outdoor setting and found the waiting for the noise of the waves to cease being almost a yearning, a completeness of the natural part of the cycle of restfullness of the earth. How wonderful to experience this richness and being part of it all. This was a lovely read.

Kallen305 said...

Wonderful writing and I agree with the others I could see it in my mind.

Lin said...

love your descriptions that use all the senses, feel like i'm right there enjoying the sights of nature with you.

Sian said...

A beautiful description of winter. Ours are not so harsh but I never look forward to them. Thank you for reminding me of the stark beauty to be found in Winter's heart.

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Winter has its hidden surprises ... or in this case, it makes a surprise by unhiding what what previously covered up by leaves. You can't pull the wool over old man winter!

mom/caryn said...

sigh...

I found magic in your words that leaves me waiting with surprising anticipation for winter to settle himself comfortably on our land.

I'm a California girl that hasn't been able to successfully make the transition from surfer chick to snow bunny. I've never looked forward to the arrival of Utah's winter... that is until I read your post today. It truly helped me change my focus.

This is a lovely, beautifully expressed post.

magiceye said...

beautifully described... so vivid

hitch writer said...

All the birds are coming to india... our bird watching season is just starting... and almost all water reservoirs are now being flocked by birds... Thank god the birds dont have any boundaries....