Bird Droppings November 13, 2014
Looking at a cloud in the darkness
I am still warming my hands as this was the coldest morning of the fall to date. I went out to check my wife’s car and off in the pines a great horned owl called. I stood listening for several minutes focusing on the sound and wondering how many others heard this call. I read an email from a friend rather a post to class reunion web page last night. It was a sincere heart felt recollection of one friend for another. The series of notes were related to Veterans Day and were remembering our class mates who had fallen in battle, a wonderful tribute to our warriors.
What could I offer that had not been said. The call of an owl and passing of a cloud were only symbols and meaningful to me. I too thought back and it has been some time since I lay on a blanket at the Valley Forge National Park in Pennsylvania watching clouds float by overhead. Earlier as I walked outside the clouds were moving by in the darkness which always is inspiring to me seeing the lace of clouds with the half of a moon behind. Why Valley Forge popped in my mind I am not sure it has been some time since I was there. Last night I saw the first shooting star in many months as I was driving home from teaching a college class. It has been some time since we would lay out in the bed of a truck or sitting in chairs waiting on falling stars. Back in the day as my youngest son would say it was easy to drive out into a pasture away from house lights and see the true sky at night.
I spent a good bit of the day yesterday thinking about my grandchildren, getting ready for lasts night class, and reading. Reading for me provides an escape. Many the times, when visiting my in-laws in Warner Robins, I would take along a new book and go to where my father in-law had set up a chair outside in his back yard under an ancient cherry tree. It just so happened to be a perfect foot rest on a picnic table and just the right back angle to read. With the sun at a good angle it is a perfect spot and when the breeze is just so and not enough to turn a page but enough to be peaceful well a nap often will entail.
Occasionally I would take a digital picture of something that caught my eye as I read a piece of bark or knot in the tree trunk of that old cherry tree. Once while I read several small colorful spiders dropped by and ran across my book enjoying the warmth of the sun as much as I was. Always high overhead squirrels are busy with running along the power lines back and forth to a pecan tree stocking up on nuts for the coming winter.
“I once had a sparrow alight upon my shoulder for a moment, while I was hoeing in a village garden, and I felt that I was more distinguished by that circumstance that I should have been by any epaulet I could have worn.” Henry David Thoreau
It has been a few years back one spring a red tailed hawk came to my yard to die. Why it chose my small piece of earth I will never know. I carefully buried it near some flowers in one of our flower beds.
“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator
So many years ago as I would walk across the pastures in the wee hours of the morning and listen for the buffalo waking up snorting and shaking off the dew from the night. Now I listen to tree frogs and crickets when the temperature allows a very occasional car will break the mood but early in the morning most normal people are still asleep and I do have a semblance of solitude. Perhaps I am simply pondering too hard today thinking back to bits and pieces of my own life when I was learning about all around me.
I still recall the day I learned what name was given to the constellation making a W across the night sky. A good friend had learned from his father and shared Cassiopeia with me. Today I share bits and pieces with my sons and it will not be too long till I share with my grandchildren. Last night as I spoke with my son he and his wife were out shopping for decorations for my granddaughters upcoming birthday party a tear or two crossed my eye. I can recall as we drove home so many times from my wife’s parent’s home watching my father in law and mother in law standing waving as we drove away. They would wave till we were out of sight and I would wonder what it was like and now I know. Of course in our car the main excitement all the way home was over a bag full of grandma’s rice crispy treats. But then occasionally something would catch an eye and coincidence would kick in and we would seriously talk about the event, a crimson sky or hawk gliding to roost for the night, doves along a wire or a deer jumping back into the forest. I gave thanks this morning for the cold. I gave thanks for a clear head and all that would transpire in the day ahead. I gave thanks for my friend’s tribute to a fallen warrior. I look forward to a beautiful day and always give thanks for my family and friends. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and always give thanks namaste.
My family and friends I do not say this lightly,
(We are all related)