Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I’m starting my walk this morning in sunshine, but the sky overhead is hazy and to the west the clouds are dark. I’m glad to have the sun for now. I feel a little high-spirited today as I see a bunny hopping down a trail. His powder puff tail zigs and zags, then he hops straight up and down and disappears around the bend. I’d like to follow him. But I suspect he has just stopped in another little bit of briar and weed. I want to think I’d have found a little opening at the base of a stump where he’d have disappeared and I could have lain down on the moss and peeked in to see a little family of bunnies painting eggs to get ready for Easter.

Everything is in bud this morning. Near the stream at the base of the white oak there are more little Hepatica buds almost ready to open. All through the open woods Cut-leaved Toothworts hold clusters of young buds. Here and there tiny leaves of Corydalis are coming through the leaves into the sun. Their leaves are similar to Dutchman’s Breeches, which I’ve never seen in these woods. New leaves of wild rose, Autumn Olive, and honeysuckle are starting to appear. And the field grass is just a little greener than yesterday.

Near the path to the stream, I see a Forsythia bush starting to bloom. I wonder who planted it there. There’s no house nearby. A few years ago it looked like someone was planning to build on that property. There were markers where a house might go and some of the land was mowed. Maybe the Forsythia was planted then along with hopes for a home. There was a bridge across the stream that a car could drive over. It has been broken down for a long time. There is moss growing on some of the old bridge lumber that is down in the stream. I feel a little lonely, as if I’m sharing someone’s memories of dreams that never happened.

Now I listen to sounds. A staccato beat nearby is loud—it must be the pileated woodpecker, either searching for food or hammering out a hole in a hollow tree to build a nest. We have a bat house in our yard that has never had bats in it, but last year there was a brand new hole near the top that had been chipped out by a woodpecker to make an entrance. Now I hear the woodpecker calling as it flies away to its next task. Another series of poundings off in the distance comes from hammers--people at work building something. They are too busy to be concerned with us here in these woods. As I walk further I hear various songs from birds I can’t name—then a loud caw of crows catches my attention. I look up to see two of them harassing a hawk. I have seen that before—sometimes the number of crows becomes greater. The schoolyard isn’t the only place that has bullies. I wonder why crows pick on hawks. Getting close to home I hear a variety of bird sounds coming from one spot. There is chirping, then warbling and tweeting and singing. I smile, knowing what I’ll see when I look up in the tree. It’s the mockingbird. I remember almost thirty years ago sitting in a rocking chair with my first baby in my arms on a late spring night with a window open to the soft breeze and the crazy singing of a mockingbird that went on all night long. Night after night the three of us shared the warm breezes. I’m happy to hear it again every spring.

My walk is over for the morning. I pick some daffodils to bring in the house.

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