[“Clawfoot Bathtub, Scrap”, Somerville, MA]
After the violent winter we had, one of my greatest pleasures these days is to sit on my deck with a cup of coffee and my journal and to wake up slowly to the bustling, preening, greening world of my back yard, my tiny patch of “the grace of the world”:**
A couple of days ago, though, my backyard was anything but pastoral or gracious. In a Norway maple, hidden by leaves, feathered warriors squabbled over territory—or, perhaps, a female bird. What drama! What a ruckus! When those birds finally decided to do battle in the air, not one, not two, but THREE brightly plumed cardinals took flight. I wish you could have seen how magnificent they were!
And I remembered a bit from a recent New Yorker article in which American novelist Nell Zink, an avid bird-watcher who lives in Europe, had this to say: “I saw a cardinal when I was in Brooklyn and I was almost moved to tears.” What stirred her was the fact that a creature so brilliant could survive in plain sight. “I was, like, I can’t believe this thing is legal. I can’t believe this thing is in the wild. How did this happen, how has someone not killed them all? They’re so conspicuous. They’re gorgeous. How can they still be alive?”
She’s right. It’s a miracle—and a blessing.
*“THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS”
by Wendell Berry
When despair grows in me
and I wake in the middle of the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting for their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.