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Perfect Evening

Yesterday evening, I went over to Lake Crabtree and went walking.

The fields are full of swamp sunflowers, the sunflowers are full of bees and butterflies, the sun was setting across the lake in that crazy fuscia-red shade, the herons were striding grimly through the marsh, and it was just...perfect. A single perfect gem of an evening. I went walking down the sunflower path to the woods, scattering wrens and miscellaneous sparrows. A lone kingfisher went chattering overhead, swooped low over the water, and landed on a spar. The air smelled spicy and faintly sweet, and butterflies hung off the sunflowers, flapping drunkenly in the throes of nectar inebriation. A ragged-winged swallowtail careened overhead, nearly hit me, corrected, and landed on a nearby flower. I was unable to shake the feeling that if I'd leaned in close enough, I'd hear it giggling.

I looked down the path, and saw two deer, right at the edge of the path, watching me. A buck and a doe, the buck with a fairly small, spiky rack, now out of velvet. The doe retreated, but the buck stood there for several minutes, trying to decide whether I was worth fleeing or not. Eventually I looked away, following a Carolina wren that went skittering through the sedge, and when I looked back, he was gone.

I eventually walked back, around the edge of the lake, and saw a Pepperidge Farms Warbler Assortment hanging around in the grass, the low trees, and through a willow on the edge of the water. Identifying fall warblers can be a miserably frustrating exercise, and I don't know half of what I saw, but the first-year American redstart was clear--yellow tail stripes diagnostic--as was the tail-waggling of the prairie warbler (a bird which, with the usual precision of ornithology, doesn't hang out on prairies at all.) And both of those were lifers, which was just the final fillip on a gorgeous evening.

Much of my life is still painful and occasionally exhausting, but as long as there are occasional evenings like that, it's worth it.

The Prairie Warblers lost their ancestral grassland homes in the Bird Wars nearly 1800 years ago, but have continued to chant their lament for land lost over the centuries.

Last weekend, I noticed we have our migrating pelicans back in Kansas again. It always startles me that they come here to the middle of the landmass, rather than staying by the coastline...

Of course, I have no idea where they come from-it's not that far out of the way, if they are on the great lakes, I suppose...

And I heard (although did not see) a loon! They are one of my favorite birds, but I've never seen them here...

On another note, I'm glad you are experiencing things like this. They do make the hard times much better, don't they?

We have pelicans up here in MN and ND/SD, so if they're migrating south they'd go right through Kansas. Yeah, I know, one doesn't *expect* pelicans in the northern plains states, but they don't appear to care what we think. ;-)

It does, however, explain why there's a town up by Fargo called Pelican Rapids.

That's... sweetly inspiring. Thank you.


I don't go out walking much in the evening, but as it often happens I'm awake all night, when the sky begins to lighten in the morning, I sometimes get this urge to go out and go down to the beach and watch the sun rise and the birds feed.
It's not always spectacular or special (though usually reviving), but there was this one morning in the spring when it was just -perfect- and the feeling that left me with kept me going for a long time.

I can get a similar feeling if I find myself outside at a (safe) wet spot in a tremendous thunder storm. That is absolutely glorious!

...Pepperidge Farms Warbler Assortment...

Damnit it. Now I want cookies. Feathered cookies. GAH!

This sounds more like you. Good sign.

I live in this soup of chronic pain. Really--my joints and muscles hurt literally all the time. But through that, the moments when it doesn't matter have to do with nature. I can look at a leaf and have that be the world for that moment or minute.

I'm glad you also have something that provides solace and balm.

I'm laughing at the image of your giggling swallow. I am remembering when there were sparrows learning to fly near our apartment and for several days, fuzzy little cannonballs would go zooming past us as we stood outside. It took them several days to progress from knee-level to above our heads and they kept slamming into us and/or bouncing off the carport walls. We took to yelling, "Incoming!" And I was sure I could hear little tiny "Wheee"s!

Some people like to go sit in a building on Sunday morning. Me? I go outside - that's my church, where I am rejuvinated and awestruck. (Ok, well that and Hurricanes games...but anyway...)

Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about that very thing...

Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --
I keep it, staying at Home --
With a Bobolink for a Chorister --
And an Orchard, for a Dome --

Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --
I just wear my Wings --
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton -- sings.

God preaches, a noted Clergyman --
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last --
I'm going, all along.

When looking at waggling warblers, don't forget palm warblers as well as prairie warblers! :-) The cap on a palm is usually clear, though...

*grin* Yes, indeed! Another waggly warbler...

I'm happy for you, that you can find moments of calm in the stormy seas.

It's more proof that most ornithologists name birds when under the influence of large amounts of alcohol.

I saw my first Prairie Warbler a few years back ... in Arizona.

I does sound like a lovely evening, but maybe a trifle...too mellow? Just doesn't sound like you, U.

I've been on these things (SSRIs) for the last 20 years and I really hope that your experience with them is a limited one. The optimum would be to have them help you through this rough patch, and then be able to wean off them and go back to being your inimitable self...because I think we'd all really miss you, if you didn't.


*grin* Oh, never fear, I spent today in a state of mild anxiety, so it all balances out.

I've no intention of staying on on these suckers forever--four to six months is the doctor's suggestion, and that's fine by me. For one thing, I'd like to be able to drink again some day...

I have never seen a Prairie Warbler, And I have been birding for almost 19 years now. And what about the Northern Waterthrush, which I rarely see near water?

I've never seen a northern waterthrush at all, near or far from water!

Or a cedar waxwing, or an oriole, or...you know, I'm gonna shut up now before I depress myself...

well there you go. Proof more or less positive that there is such a thing as Better Living Through Chemistry. Keep up the drugs, and you'll be back to normal in no time.