Here And There

The kids were playing in the schoolyard, but not quite as many as usual. Some must have stayed in to avoid the gloomy fall weather with its anticipation and spits of rain. It’s hard to start off a morning happy when weather is so heavy but as soon as a bird chirps, all the gloom can be forgotten and it can seem like the sun is shining.

A beautiful red cardinal appears and doesn’t stay long because they’re skittish and as beautiful as they are, they don’t seem to like to be seen. The female comes to follow him at a water bowl. She too, leaves as quickly as a slurp’s time. Then some doves appear and the great-tailed grackles. They’ve shown up again after seeming to have gone missing all summer. Everyone seems to be looking for food and wanting water. Are they making themselves ready for winter?

A lot of people don’t like the grackles because they poke their long beaks deep into the ground and circle them around making holes, on the hunt for grubs. They could be glad because grubs are a nemesis of perfect lawns. Holes or dead patches neither make much status — so they just kill them both — the grubs and the grackles.  That way too, they don’t have bird poo on their cars.

Grubs are great for composting and for helping to improve or even make soil so for a permaculture patch of ground, all things are left to do what they do, as they please, despite the mess and irregularities that others hate to see. Fences make good neighbors.

Then the birds all scatter because the king of the jungle turns the corner on the hunt for his own nibbles or a drink of water. He tumbles around on a log on the ground, playing after scratching his claws.

It’s just a steady stream of living things so there is no sorrow in gloomy weather if you’ve finally had your coffee and perked up enough to see it all. Except that that circle of thought dredged up another circle-of-life thought and it comes to mind that it won’t be long before the kids have outgrown even the new building that just went up, blocking mountain views, and the person in the permaculture patch might be booted out to make more room for teaching more kids how to kill grackles and grubs.

It’s a little bit of a trick, getting past the initial gloom of barren trees and winter’s-coming breezes and shorter, not so sunny days — but there is work to do that requires these conditions. It’s time to get the pretty fabrics out and make a quilt to make the house brighter and more cozy while spring and other liminal spaces are being navigated — here and there, between the leaves and feathers.

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