Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Living in the Forest Primeval

This morning I'm reminded what I love about living in a pine forest. When I took the dogs out for their morning - uh, outing, - at the edge of the yard were SEVEN young deer. I cautioned the dogs to let them alone as the deer moved to the opposite side of the street. They blinked at me, not really concerned at all.

About 30 minutes later, I took another stroll outside and they were still there, playing statues. Their intense stare as they watched me move was the only sign they were real. Concerned that the morning traffic on our street would be starting at any time, I decided to shoo them back into the forest. They continued to study me as I got closer and closer to them. Four of them were in the edge of the woods across the street and three were back on my side of the street, grazing along the dirt road that runs alongside my lot. What a time not to have my camera in hand. I was within a few yards when they finally skipped off into the pines. These are the moments that help reduce stress.

We have two birdfeeders hanging from our deck that are in constant business right now. At one time over the weekend I spotted FIVE cardinal couples visiting at the same time. I don't think there's a more beautiful bird than the cardinal and as they flit about the red-tipped photina bordering the decks, they are quite a picture. We also have a steady business from chickadees and various finches. In fact, we are filling those feeders at least three times a week these days. I buy my bird seed in 120 lb. lots now. That will last a couple of months at their current rate of consumption. I've also hung a squirrel feeder in the front yard, which at the moment is being stripped by the birds. Fair enough, I suppose, given the number of times the squirrels have stolen seed from the birds.

We have a demented mockingbird that starts his repertoire at first light and continues until dusk. His constant switching of tunes in mid-song is quite comical, and much more enjoyable than the musical preferences of the teenagers who live down the street.

There are days when I come home from work, pretty much convinced that life sucks. And then I look over the deck into my backyard full of pine trees, yaupon and cedar shrubs; listen to my friendly neighborhood mockingbird; watch the doves and cardinals working on emptying the feeders and remember that life is really about enjoying the simple pleasures that surround us. It helps put things into perspective and I decide that maybe life is worth tackling again tomorrow.


P.S. The bluebonnets are out, which makes this my favorite time of the year. I'm a couple of weeks away from my birthday and I always think of bluebonnets as my personal gift from nature. Could there be a more perfect flower?

P.P.S. Ok, there's one thing about the forest I'm not particularly crazy about. The pine pollen is filling the air these days, covering everything with a fine yellow powder. I give up washing my car until it's done. But it's a small thing and I can definitely overlook the aggravation in return for the pleasure of living among the green giants.

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