Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Little Bitty Miracles

 
"Nature is so powerful, so strong. Capturing its essence is not easy--your work becomes a dance with light and the weather. It takes you to a place within yourself."
--Annie Leibovitz

Miracles are everywhere. Little, bitty miracles that can change your life.
From my kitchen window, I have a ringside seat to a small patch of earth. I've started keeping a notebook, jotting down types of birds that visit the feeders, along with seasonal notes. Soon, I will keep track of migrations. I signed up for the upcoming backyard bird count (February 12 - 15), and I'm learning how to create a certified wildlife habitat in my yard. 



Isn't it wonderful how one, little hobby can lead to another? Bird watching inspires me to get out of my chair and interact with nature. The weather may not be inviting, but that's okay. The moment I breathe in the cold country air, my whole perspective changes. I notice sunlight and shadows; I listen to birdsong. I look for animal tracks. And I dream about spring and summer.
We all need dreams, don't we?
 My Great Aunt Claudine had twenty hummingbird feeders in her Mississippi yard, and people lingered on her patio for hours, just enjoying the show. I haven't bought a feeder yet, but I've been looking.

Nature gives us so much beauty. It makes us smile, laugh--and yes, cry. For some of us, it may give a reason to keep going when times are unbearable. Nature also teaches us to live in the here and now. It's a form of meditation, a way to clear your thoughts and fill your soul. 

When I was a little girl, I would gather little items in our garage and put them in an old burlap sack. Then I'd go door-to-door, letting the neighbors take what they wanted. Free goodies to all was my motto. I gave away things like tiny flower pots, pin cushions, and oyster shells. Many decades later, I have become the recipient of free goodies. My house isn't new, and it is yielding little treasures that previous owners have left behind. 
I think the former owners were nature lovers, too.
I was delighted to find bird feeders and a shepherd's hook that's the perfect size for a hummingbird feeder. When I told my mama, she said that's wonderful, but birdwatching isn't a one-way activity. It's a commitment to your local flock by filling and cleaning the feeders. It means providing a safe habitat.

 She also says that identifying birds and bird calls (plus all kinds of animals, along with their tracks and calls) will keep the mind sharp, the blood pressure low, and the heart happy. 

"Have you ever seen a bird brood?" she asked.

When we engage in activities that make us happy, the body reacts. Stress levels fall, self esteem rises, and we feel at peace with the world.   



Nature watching can be a distraction from a troubled day. In fact, it teaches us that we can have a bad day--but that doesn't mean we've had a bad life.  

 Can nature watching rewire the brain in a positive way?
I believe it does.

"Miracles do not, in fact, break the laws of nature."
-- C.S. Lewis, Miracles

"The only way to live is to accept each minute as an unrepeatable miracle, which is exactly what it is: a miracle and unrepeatable."
 -- Margaret Storm Jameson

Note: Thank you, Susan S., SO MUCH for telling me about the backyard bird count and for providing the link.

Shared at:
Thursday Favorite Things
The Charm of Home
Wow Us Wednesdays

24 comments:

  1. just what I needed to read tonight. Thank you for the blessing! xoxo

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  2. Love this post! It has been some time since I focused on watching the birds. I signed up for the Great American bird count years ago when I was watching too. It's quite active, you will enjoy it. I love your story of the treasures given and treasures found!

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  3. Nice pictures - I love to watch the birds out my kitchen window. I live in Wisconsin so the view is of the same type of birds now - I feed them all year. One day, I had a hawk sitting on the top of my feeder...lots of little red squirrels frequent the feeder too.

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  4. Lovely post and your photos are gorgeous. Back yard bird count....hmmmmm. I might look into that. xo Deb

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  5. I love seeing the little hummingbirds. When we first moved "out to the country" I went crazy putting up hummingbird feeders. I didn't get any hummingbirds! Every now and then one would flit by. My crazy old bathrobed lady told me I wouldn't get any. As I stood there with tears in my eyes, she explained that the commercial food will draw ants and the hummingbirds won't eat from them. That if I wanted little hummingbirds to find flowers to draw them in naturally. The hummingbirds would come to flowers and the smell is more potent and drawing. She was right! The following year I planted some hummingbird flowers just for them and it was like a hummingbird club! I think a few couples even hooked up in my yard! Love reading about your home and yard! So beautiful!

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    1. I hadn't even thought about planting flowers for the hummers. Such a great idea! Thanks!

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  6. When my mother was diagnnosed with ALS, we placed her hospital bed in the dining room next to a picture window. She never lacked for visitors or inspirataion - the window looked out on a bluff of trees. She especially loved the cardinals and named them all.

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    1. Miss Merry, this is so heartwarming and life-affirming. I love how your mother named each cardinal!

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  7. Perky Pet makes a tubular hummingbird feeder with about 20, and a longer one with about 40, of the red flower feeding holes. Something like that might be fun, and you have the space for it.

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    1. I'll look for that feeder. Thank you SO much!

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    2. Here they are, called a Hummerbar. http://www.birdfeeders.com/store/hummingbird-feeders?gclid=CM-P8YPn3MoCFYU9aQodE_wGYQ

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  8. This garden post has me itching for spring!

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  9. Isn't it fun to learn about the birds and see them visit! One of the things I've most enjoyed about where I live is just that. I hardly knew any bird names except a Robin or a Crow when I was younger. Having the hummers visit is a treat but I've taken to making sure I have plants and shrubs that they feed from and enjoy watching them visit those. Your mother is spot on about taking take of the birds. A lot of people will feed them during the warm months and then get lazy in the winter and stop when they need it most. There is much solace in the garden and watching visiting birds. Just one of God's many gifts!

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  10. I'm glad you're getting your "mo-joy" back! :)

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  11. What a beautiful post - very inspiring...peace and contentment can be found in the most natural and simple ways.. Every year for Mother's Day my adult children make sure the flowering hanging baskets they buy for me have plenty of red flowers in them - and sure enough - I get hummingbirds at those baskets every single day....a lovely sight! And I do love the cardinals - I love how the 'couples' wait for each other while they eat from the feeders...

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  12. You're ever so welcome, Michael Lee! I always hesitate to include links in comments as they aren't always welcome. It's so easy to turn one's yard into a habitat for feathered friends. I'll send you another link through e-mail that I also think you'll enjoy. I really enjoyed your observations and sentiments about life and nature and I wholeheartedly concur! Love your reading angel statue.

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  13. Just a beautiful reflective post! Thank you!

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  14. This is so wonderful, as was your previous post! You will get so much enjoyment from this, and so will we when you share these wonderful encounters! It makes me happy reading it, knowing what a treat you're in for. I love cardinals (our state bird), and hummers, best of all my visitors, though I wish I could lure bluebirds like my sister does each year.
    As for the hummers, I have a post you may want to read on my blog - it's about their unlikely predators, and a few other pointers. I typically see my first one in WV sometime mid- to late April, and then I take my feeders down by early September, so they won't linger.
    This makes for great blogging material - thanks for sharing!
    Rita

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    1. I am eager to read your post about hummers. Thanks!

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  15. I don't know anything about the backyard bird count but I do know that my husband and I counted at least 60 cardinals, male and female, in our backyard two days ago!!! And in the summer at our lakehouse, we've had as high as 30 hummingbirds at our feeders at a time...they like it at the lake!!! I've tried every kind of hummingbird feeder that they make, from functional to just plain cute, and found that they really like the plain, glass with red perch and cone, the best.
    You will learn that watching your birds and their crazy antics will most definitely be the cheapest form of therapy found anywhere....the peacefulness, the calm, the beauty. And at the risk of sounding really crazy...I swear my birds communicate with me. Daily. And it feels really good!

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    1. So true about the therapy! And I absolutely believe that nature gives us signs. When we are outdoors, we are part of the Divine. What an amazing cardinal population you have! My mother said the exact same thing about the hummingbird feeders.

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  16. I think your days outdoors are yielding gorgeous images. ;-)
    I like to watch birds, but have never considered myself a birder. My sister-in-law is a serious birder.
    When I was teaching, my students would participate in a bird count each year. I forget who sponsored it, but it was always fun to see the enthusiasm. Have fun!

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