Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Gifts

This time of the year the natural world is more subdued.  It is easy to swap the grey and chill of a typical December day for myriad distractions that confound and divert us, moths to the flame of commerce.  But putting up lights, careening through stores, and fretting over lists is a practice which fills a need for nature in the same way that foam pellets and crumpled paper fills a box.  A package of only crumpled paper is filled and yet empty, an expense and a disappointment.  There must be something in the box - how could it be empty?  So ... time to fill the nature box.

Nature's winter subtleties are a gift perhaps more precious for all the packaging that surrounds it  - or more accurately, us.  We watch through windows and under raincoats.  We scan the weather channel and the book shelf, or take long wanders through the lighting section of the hardware store and the travel pages of the internet.  Observations come not in long lazy meanders but in brisk brief snatches.  The kinglet who pops in and out of view - a ruby crown or was it golden - no matter, thanks for the visit.  The Anna's hummingbird who chitters vociferously when I step into his domain to replenish the feeder's sugar water -- yeh... well, you're welcome anyway.

There are longer moments.  The other morning a mixed flock, including robins, white crowned sparrows, and Oregon juncos, inspecting the underside of most every leaf for the soil micro herd that in turn has come to feed on the decomposing litter.  The somehow unfamiliar hum of a fly disturbed from  hibernation.  Or again the Annas', this time drinking deep on liquid energy before their overnight torpor.

The fleetest moments are moments of recognition: something has somehow changed.  Leaftips hint above bulbs.  Days turn barely longer.  Jupiter inches through the constellations.  I struggle with being a patient observer.  I want not to observe but to maneuver and manipulate.  Isn't there something to assemble or dismantle or design or capture?  Perhaps later.  Right now I shall be content with what has taken me parts of several days to write, a phrase here, a moment of clarity there, closing a difficult personal year and opening a fresh new one.

Glen Buschmann

Resources:  photos by Glen Buschmann

No comments:

Post a Comment