Tag Archives: chickadee

The possibility of grace and freedom

Last week, before the thermometer dipped to 22 degrees (-5.6 C) and it began to snow…

Blessed warmth shines from blue sunny skies.  We’ve forgotten what sun looks like.  We’ve forgotten how cheery we feel when sun streams warmth across the backs of grazing deer in the yard.  We’ve forgotten how bright the woods look when illuminated.

In the drowsy warmth of afternoon I creak open the windows.  The screens are long put away, stored in absent Christopher’s basement bedroom.  On our last day of wood splitting last weekend bark separated from log to reveal an amazing inner pattern.  “The secret life of bark,” I think, and attempt to photograph the hieroglyphic lines, the hidden labyrinth in a busy world.

Inner world

Continue reading

Close the door and stay inside all winter…

Keep that door closed. Don't step outside.

Confession time. 

“Readers, I have sinned…”

No, no, no.  It wasn’t sinning exactly.  But I think the Wrong Impression may have been gleaned if you’ve been reading my blog this winter. 

You may think I’ve been stepping outside and enjoying the Great Northern White Outdoors every day.

And that is not technically true. 

In fact, it is blatantly false.

You can photograph upside-down chickadees from your window.

“What?”  you ask.  “I’ve seen a lot of outdoor photos!  Of course you’ve been going outside.”

“Well, maybe…technically,” I confess.  “If you count opening your car door or front door and snapping photos as going outside.  And I really, truly, can’t count that.”

“What about Heikinpaiva and the snow statues?” you insist.  “You went outside to take pictures of those!  You didn’t lie to us about the freezing cold, did you?  Did you?”

“No, no!” I say, hurriedly.  “I try not to lie.  We did trek about a mile in the freezing cold.  We did stand out and watch crazy people–I mean adventuresome people–jump in the lake.  It’s just that I feel like the majority of the last two or three months–since Florida, actually–I’ve spent indoors.”

You can play with your photography software and create saturated flying rainbow wings.

“WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU?” you exclaim with indignation.  “Get outside, then!  Where are your snowshoes?  Your boots?  OPEN THE DOOR AND WALK OUTSIDE!!”

Oh-oh. A chickadee crashed into the window and sits, stunned, on the snow.

“Well, in truth, I haven’t been feeling too good for the past few months,” I say.  “You know how it’s easier to stay inside when you’re feeling a little punky?  Much easier not to bundle up?  Especially when you can open your car door and run outside for five minutes and get all the photos you need?” 

“No excuses!” you frown.  “You can walk slowly, can’t you?  You can snow shoe for six feet and stop and listen to the birds, can’t you? I can’t believe I’m hearing this.  Thank goodness for confession.”

Poor chickadee...dee...dee...

“OK, I’m going outside,” I agree. ” Today.  And will truly try to spend more time outdoors.  But I will not make a commitment.  You cannot make me make a commitment.  Next time I make a commitment–especially if it’s in the next couple of months–sit me in the corner and give me a good talking-to.  NO COMMITMENTS!!

“Kathy,” you say, more calmly.  “Calm yourself.  You don’t need to make a commitment.  Does the 30-day gratitude challenge have you a little ungrateful about commitments?”

“I don’t know why I like making commitments,” I confess.  “I guess it’s because you learn so much through them.  You learn about staying power.  You learn about not going everywhere your crazy feelings and thoughts dictate.  You learn what is stronger and deeper than the finicky mind.  But I have another part that doesn’t like making public commitments.  That’s the part that’s surfacing now.”

Will he recover? Will he fly again?

“Fine,” you say.  “No official commitments.  BUT GET OUTSIDE!!  Walk up the road!  Put on those snowshoes!  No more whining!  No more hibernating on the couch!  No more stopping at the mailbox every day!   Be more like a chickadee!”

“OK, OK,” I agree.  “Heading outside NOW.  And will try to do this more often.  I promise.  No, I don’t promise.  But I’ll try.”

(P.S.  All you folks who have been house-bound might want to listen to yourselves and go outside today, too.

P.S.S.  The chickadee waited until he felt better, shook himself off, and flew skyward.  Hurray for the chickadee!)