Friday, December 12, 2008

Being Watched

This morning, while wrapping presents at the old octagonal table in my office, I knew I was being watched. Not just by Edward, who had finally begun to abandon his enthusiastic attempts to claim the ribbons for his own - but by others, many others, just outside my window, curiously looking in at me from their place in the cold early sunlight. The Birds. Cardinals and chickadees, fat grey doves and red-winged blackbirds, titmice and towhees. Constant companions here in my little wing of the house, surrounding the cerulean glass feeder at all hours of the day, taking turns, crowding occasionally, chirping often, singing frequently. They are here in all seasons of the year, splashing around in their stone bath nestled in the holly bushes in summer, gathering twigs and pine needles for their brand new nests in spring, but oh so playful, so cheery in winter. They seem to love this time of year as much as I and it almost seems as though they themselves are filled with the happy spirit of Christmas and wish to join in the festive work they see just beyond the glass. Feathers fluffed, eyes bright, happily enjoying their breakfast, they watched me work all morning.
Like Edward, like myself, they call this cottage home.

Bird Sanctuary

Between the cliff-rise and the beach
A slip of emerald I own;
With fig and olive, almond, peach,
cherry and plum-tree overgrown;
Glad-watered by a crystal spring
That carols through the silver night,
And populous with birds who sing
Gay madrigals for my delight.

Some merchants fain would buy my land
To build a stately pleasure dome.
Poor fools! they cannot understand
how pricelessly it is my home!
So luminous with living wings,
So musical with feathered joy . . .
Not for all pleasure fortune brings,
Would I such ecstasy destroy.

A thousand birds are in my grove,
Melodious from morn to night;
My fruit trees are their treasure trove,
Their happiness is my delight.
And through the sweet and shining days
They know their lover and their friend;
So I will shield in peace and praise
My innocents unto the end.

Robert W. Service