Fellow Travelers

DSCF6284The sunrise shouted me out of bed like a réveillé call this morning, and I had high expectations of posting some photos and a few paragraphs by 8 A.M.DSCF5800But that’s not how it works this time of year, and I should know better. Any day may find me migrating far afield with my camera, following winged, two, or four-footed fellow-travelers. So, by 7 A.M., I’d looked through a few photos, sipped coffee, chatted with my Beloved before he headed out to a remodeling job, and then wandered outside with my camera to see if any tulips had blossomed yet. DSCF6251 DSCF6311They had not, so I roamed a bit, and eventually found myself three miles east along the bike trail, resting at the Rock River bridge. Thankfully, I was not still in my pajamas, although I’m getting to the time of my life where it wouldn’t matter all that much if I were.DSCF6301The Crawfish River, upon which Full Moon Cottage is situated, right on the curve of a drumlin, flows into the Rock River, a 300-mile river that is a tributary of the Mississippi, joining it south of us, in Illinois.DSCF6082In spring, bird migrations follow the rivers to find their way to a kind of grand gathering of the clans at Horicon Marsh, about 40 miles north of us. The migrants offer all kinds of varied bird-watching treats, if we happen to be looking in the right direction, at the right time, and on the right day, because some are here and gone very quickly.DSCF6067DSCF6009DSCF6203This week, the bit of river overflow opposite Full Moon Cottage has seemed to be taken for a temporary, but welcome, wetlands hostel of sorts, as every morning has revealed different guests, who have flown to Horicon or points north by late afternoon. Blue-Winged Teal ducks stopped over, as did shorebirds like Sandpipers and Snipes. (Sorry, my photos aren’t showstoppers because I was too far away, and didn’t want to wear waders and slog down to the guests’ resting place, disturbing them for a better photo, but you get the idea.)DSCF6114DSCF6271DSCF6276DSCF6265 Flocks of American White Pelicans soared above Riley, Clancy, and me, during our walks this week, also headed to Horicon, to nest until late September. Their numbers have increased since the beginning of our current century, having largely disappeared during the last. Their 9-ft. wingspans and interesting flight patterns always delight me; they shift and flow in horizontal, then vertical lines, then V-formations, gathering clusters, and then shooting off with partners. Somewhere, I imagine a pelican flight choreographer named Randall or Jonathan, clacking his bill and snapping directions at their migration rehearsals. “One-two-three-and…Oh, shit; this is hopeless! Partner up, people! More jazzwings! We’ll never be ready for opening flight!”DSCF6272Their black and white coloring, and long, ridged bills are stunning, and always remind me of Audrey Hepburn in the “Ascot Gavotte” scene in My Fair Lady.

The little wetlands is drying up, due to our lack of rain, but the migrations continue. This week, I’m hoping to see hummingbirds, orioles and grosbeaks; they’re usually here the first week of May. I’m always excited to see them, maybe because of the many migrations I’ve made in my own life; it seems a natural impulse to seek the home that meets one’s needs, and it seems right as well, that strangers should be welcomed for the gifts, color, and variety they offer our lives.DSCF6193DSCF6290So, I set out feeders of sugar water and slices of oranges, as I hope I set out compassion and kindness; hospitality naturally invites such beauty that I would otherwise have missed. As others have welcomed me, I want to welcome others. One of my teachers said, reducing the philosophy of servant-leadership quite tidily, “It’s all about relationship.” We’re all of us coming from our home or going to our next home, sometimes both at once, and the least we can be in passing is generous in our embrace and wise in the recognition that we’re more alike than different.DSCF6105DSCF6328DSCF6262Ascot Opening Day

10 thoughts on “Fellow Travelers

  1. Looks like things are moving right along there! Still brown up here and little green yet, but….I do have my swallows, bluebirds and the bully boys are back( bully boys are the purple finches who fight and squabble all the time)….Buds are on the lilacs so soon the leaves will appear I hope…Spring is awakening here but you are definitely a few weeks ahead of us…Enjoy my friend. My best to hubby and the four leggeds and of course to you as well 🙂 Big hugs and happy spring….VK ❤

    • Thank you, VK; hope your world will warm and green-up soon! “The force that through the green fuse drives the flower…” as Dylan Thomas wrote, certainly enlivens the spirit and reminds me there are possibilities and reasons to hope, everywhere. 🙂 Gentle peace…

  2. I’m amazed how quickly your trees are leafing up, you have more or less caught up with us! I did enjoy those wading birds, how lovely! Gosh! Those American white pelicans are astonishing, what a sight!!!! They hardly look real! Lol….I was laughing at the jazzwings, how apt though! Seven foot wingspan……sighs….
    How lucky you are to have so many wonderful birds passing through……now…..what is going to nest in that wonderful hole in the tree???? eh???xxx

  3. I know! I love the nest in the tree; it’s quite high up. I think it’s from last year, but I keep checking.

    The daily changes are astonishing. We had snow last week, twice (didn’t accumulate), and this week it’s in the 70’s F/ 21+ Celsius range…no rain, just very warm sunny bright days, so green things are growing madly…

    The pelicans are so fun to watch; they really do have a choreographer, I’m sure.

    Love to your week. 🙂

  4. Yay! Flowers and weeds and rain…we’re in need, with none in sight. people out of touch with the need love the sunshine and warmth but won’t love the food prices that come from drought, if we get into one again. So it goes in the 21st.

    Thanks for reading, dear one, and kindly sharing. Love you.

  5. Have I told you lately how good for my soul it is to be here and to roam with you (the idea of you wandering the woods and the trails in pajamas made me grin as I am sometimes guilty of doing the same…) In fact I’m writing this in my pajamas. But anyways. A treasure trove of photos. I especially stopped to soak in your words about us coming from our homes or going to our next. You are so right. How often this transition in life is helped so much by kindness and compassion and warm hospitality. For are we not at one time or another guests in someone else’s home, territory, land? Thank you for your kindness to all who cross your path dear Kitty. That’s how we make this world a better place. Love you.

  6. Thank you, Sharon; I am angry about some of the discussions regarding immigration, especially in my country, but I see the complexities of this issue being faced all over the world, as war-torn or famine-driven populations seek better places to thrive…and that’s when I most hate the boundaries and clinging we use to define “mine.” I so pray the world’s people will begin to respond with greater kindness and compassion to these situations, rather than basing them upon fear, a need for more power, a desire to separate humans into the worthy and less or not-at-all worthy…ancient plagues, these, but I still think we can–and must–do better.

    I do love you visits, your words, and you; you bless me so brightly, I can feel it here, at my desk and yes, in my pj’s. 🙂

  7. So enjoyed this post, and the pictures of the birds. Sometimes it’s enough to get just a sketch or a picture that isn’t perfect together with the words and the impressions and feelings… they manage to convey the essence. And after reading your post and being moved by the sight of those American Pelicans who are so very special… so beautiful and elegant… I also read your comment about being angry about some of the discussions on immigration. It really is a very complicated issue. I won’t speak of the problems between people here. Though I imagine the issues are complicated there too. But I’m learning about more and more invasions of certain species in areas of the world where they haven’t lived before. The world is getting smaller, and living creatures are finding it harder to live in one place, and manage to find their way to new areas. Recently I discovered that squirrels, whom I love, are finding their way to the forests of Israel. But here they threaten the very existence of other native animals. And so, there are some very dedicated folks who trap them without hurting them, and send them back to countries where they are part of the natural scene. For years I had been hoping to see some of those beautiful creatures in our country. And now that they have appeared, I’m learning that they threaten local wild life.

  8. Thank you, Shimon; I always appreciate your thoughtful and kind comments.

    It is a most challenging time for ecosystems to be maintained, or find new ways to be balanced, that’s for sure, and there are certainly no easy answers. Some systems need protection, and others may do better if they are re-imagined and open to an evolving design and new forms of interdependence. I think our responses to all of these possibilities need study and disciplined consideration, periods of observation, patience, and the “best right actions” we can initiate. Closed minds and stubborn resistance to change are not helpful, but neither is haste…good luck to all of us! 🙂

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