Saturday, February 16, 2013

Walking: Of Solace and Birdsong.

Where does the merry-go-round of life take you?

It has been a long tough winter. The ups of clear skies tempered with the downs of freezing blizzards and grey clouds has made this mild day the perfect day to sit still. I wanted to take advantage of the coaxing air to slip into the woods unseen by anyone save for the breeze whose whispers fall from the tops of the pine trees. I wanted anonymity from those save for the gentle snowflakes that sighed each time one tapped my shoulder or rested on my eyelash. The only sounds I looked for today was of birdsong. Winter in Canada means that bird sightings are rare, especially in urban areas but if you step lightly into the forest you may catch the warbles and chirps of the Royal red cardinals and the charming chickadees. I wanted to take off today and find the company of those birds, those birds who could reassure me that the sun still shone above the clouds. They know. They fly up there all of the time.

My merry-go-round has its ups and downs.

My memories danced last night with my dreams and plotted this morning with déjà-vu. The damp smell of the earth rose to greet me as I stepped outside. My ears strained to recall the sunrise songs and twilight lullabies of the birds on the edges of their nests. There was one place I knew I could satiate my soul today, a place that could best whisper to me the secrets of the coming Spring; the Little Cataraqui Conservation Area.

 The conservation area is an isolated patch of protected woodland that houses those birds who decided to winter in Canada. It is also an oasis of calm. From the moment I stepped onto the boardwalk and crossed the pond and landed on the trails I knew I was in for the walk that I needed.

How do you approach an amusement ride?

Aside from a good pair of shoes and some direction I bring with me intent. Today's intent was to find somewhere quiet where I could fully appreciate the silence of the natural world on a quiet weekday afternoon. I was intent on finding just the right accompaniment for my journey. Just the right amount of song to lift my spirits.I was intent on coming home with a smile.
I slipped down the path towards the chickadee feeding area and was immediately embraced by the trees. Having reached the inner sanctum,the wind was now bound by the thick lattice work of branches and muted. The only sounds as I stood still and watched was of the tic tic tic of the snow hitting the dried leaves and pine needles. I found a bench and sat.
 It was still.
 I heard not a peep or a peck nor a cheep nor a speck.
I knocked but no one was home.
 Finally I ventured further in to the underbelly of the underbrush. I stood again. Then I heard it. A little warble coming from far and high away.I gave a polite 'ahem' to signal my presence and lifted my hand which cupped a thousand tiny seeds in offering. In exchange for food the birds made songs. Soon word had spread throughout the forest and the chickadees arrived.
Having a conversation.
 The air was filled with the flapping of wings and the chatter of birdsong and conversation. The air whirled and stirred with their presence but the most beautiful sound of all was their song. Spring came alive for me at that moment. The sun came out and met my face. I relaxed. The birds happily met me half way to remind me that solace is nice, but isolation is too much.
My merry-go-round brought me full circle.

 Back to my dreams of finding solace in the woods, of finding space to dream, to sigh, to dance with my ideas until I have a plan for them.It is amazing what things a little birdie can tell you and what's even more amazing is their song which reminds us that, with some presence and sound, the world is still turning.

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