Once again Wendell Berry has words for this day:
Endment: Small remnant, or end of a bolt of fabric
Ever changing view through the windows. Patterns cross my desk – feathery shadows cross my books and papers as wind sets the trees to swaying before the rising sun. More shadows flit as light catches the wings of passing chickadees on their morning rounds. Today they are busy putting finishing touches to their nests, although some chickadees are already firmly settled in waiting for their eggs to hatch. These year-round neighbors go about their business with a charm and aplomb that we never cease to enjoy. What is it that makes them so endearing? Certainly one thing is their black and white cap and face which, like the mask of the raccoon, gives a certain roguish charm. Add to that the delightfully distinctive chick-a-dee-dee-dee call but the to those important traits must be added the essential component of personality
The National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England refers to them as “friendly” and “inquisitive” and mentions that they are “acrobatic” when feeding. The unpretentious, self-assured manner in which these little bits of fluff go about their business, often landing just inches away from us to quickly snatch a seed from a feeder, is in striking contrast to the furtive manner in which larger birds warily scan the landscape and flee in panic at the slightest flutter of leaves or other unexplained movement. Could it be that these little guys are just so small as to be of no interest to predators that would like to feast on a larger bird?
A few weeks ago we were watching in fascination as two chickadees took turns darting in and out of a hole in a small rotted stump just a few feet from the road in the middle of a campground in New Jersey. We were thinking “How exciting to watch this pair feeding their young so close at hand. They must be feeding on a hatch of moths or other insects close by that enables them to keep darting back to their nest so quickly.” And “How bold of them to nest right next to the road in this busy campground.” Then, as we took a closer look through the binoculars, we realized these birds were coming out of the hole with their mouths full. As we watched, we realized that they were apparently pulling dry fibers of soft rotten punk wood from within the stump to line their near by nest. As long as we made no threatening move, they were content to go on with their energetic housekeeping task right beside us. If the rest of us could more often adopt their industrious and self assured live-and-let-live manner, the world would surely be a much better place.
I looked in my heart while the wild swans went over.
And what did I see I had not seen before?
Only a question less or a question more;
Nothing to match the flight of wild birds flying.
Tiresome heart, forever living and dying,
House without air, I leave you and lock your door.
Wild swans, come over the town, come over
The town again, trailing your legs and crying!
---Edna St. Vincent Millay