Friday, August 29, 2014

The Happy Stories of the Past Again

My life has been much enriched in more ways than I can describe since I became a birder in 1984. My first bird identification was a Phainopepla in the Southern California chaparral. I found his distinctive crest in a bird book. Since then, I have participated in Audubon Society activities in three different States and even once attended a National Convention.

I want to recommend that you get in touch with your local Auduboners and go for a few birdwalks. You will likely discover some natural places near you that are well worth visiting!

Today, when I decided to take this picture, it was raining (raindrop at center top) and the light was very misty and pale, so I darkened this some. This year, although the goldfinches have their own thistleseed feeder, they come to this one, too. I finally decided to pour a little thistleseed over the Chickadee's sunflower seeds for them. But the big attraction is the suet, which brings different woodpeckers (this is the Downy Woodpecker) the Rosebreasted Grosbeak, and the Bluejay.

I just got myself a big book of John Clare (1793-1864) who was also very fond of birds, 
and of everything he saw in nature, really.
Here is a sonnet of his on the wren.

The Wren

Why is the cuckoo's melody preferred
And nightingale's rich song so fondly praised
In poet's rhymes? Is there no other bird
Of nature's minstrelsy that oft has raised
One's heart to ecstasy and mirth as well?
I judge not how another's taste is caught---
With mine there's other birds that bear the bell,
Whose song has crowds of happy memories brought,
Such the wood robin singing in the dell
And little wren that many a time hath sought
Shelter from showers in huts where I did dwell
In early spring the tenants of that plain
Tenting my sheep, and still they come to tell
The happy stories of the past again.

—John Clare

from "I AM" THE SELECTED POETRY OF JOHN CLARE; edited by Jonathan Bate, 
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 2003, page 152.

One could do worse than try sonnets; I've been fearful . . . 

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