Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Finishing up 2022

I’m sitting here watching my birds at our feeders. We have a lot of feeders, starting out with one we thought they could all share…then realizing that some birds aren’t sharers at heart.

Waiting his turn.

Now I fill 4 feeders every morning, and hope I can go the rest of the day without heading out to fill them again. But with the weather this week, all the wind and cold and snow, the birds were ravenous and I ended up out there more than once on each cold, nasty day.

Make room for one more!

Anyway, the year is winding down and I feel like I should be reflecting on 2022. But, in our family, it was a difficult year and one that might best be let go without any formality.

Grab a seed and go, little buddy, before that big woodpecker comes back!

Best, maybe, to anticipate next year. I am very hopeful about 2023.

It’s hard to wait your turn when you’ve got snow melting on your beak.

I’m hoping there are camping adventures waiting in the woods, perhaps even near a dark sky park.

A fluffy downy woodpecker checks out the inventory.

I am hopeful for clear warm summer nights when the moon is new, and wild stormy cloud filled skies during afternoon barn searches.

A hairy woodpecker wants to know who ate all the peanuts.

I’m hopeful for lush gardens of vibrant flowers filled with fat buzzing bees and the whisper of hummingbird wings.

A nuthatch keeps watch while grabbing a snack.

I’m hopeful for red ripe tomatoes warmed by the afternoon sun, and bluebirds nesting in their boxes way out in the yard.

Mr. Cardinal enjoys a peaceful lunch.

I’m hopeful for a long bike ride or two, and more than a couple kayak trips down a river or across a lake.

Mrs. Redbelly asks who failed to clean the snow off the suet?

I’m hopeful I’ll see Alabama again after too long away, that I’ll get to float again in the warm southern waters talking with neighbors and family until the sun slides down in a glorious sunset.

The bluejay is not known for waiting patiently.

And I’m hopeful I’ll get to see my Lake Michigan in all it’s moods a few times too, maybe even Lake Superior if I’m extra lucky.

The mourning dove is almost always the last bird in to eat.

I hope I’ll be able to roam further from home too, perhaps even to dark skies in other states. I’ve heard Michigan does not hold a monopoly on the stars.

Mr. Redbelly decides what his next snack should be.

And I’m hoping I’ll get to share it all with you. And maybe, just maybe if we’re exceptionally lucky, I’ll be able to share it with a new puppy.

A bit of peaceful coexistence.

But that’s a story that has to wait to be told.

Eating as fast as he can.

Meanwhile I’ll sit in my chair near the window and watch my birds as they devour their lunch and dream about another, happier, year.

Mrs. Cardinal eats her fill.

May you all have dreams for 2023, and may the best of those come true.

A house finch chews on an after-dinner stem.


A New Year Begins

It’s 4:30 a.m. and Katie the dog wants to go out. Just like every morning, her timing is meticulously accurate. I shake the sleep from my eyes as she shakes the tags on her collar and together we stumble to the front door where she prances impatiently as I don shoes and coat and gloves.

And then we step out into the blackness that is early morning.

Deep silence surrounds us. No cars out on the freeway, no stirring in the neighborhood. Only the far away wail of a train intrudes on the thick blanket of quiet. I whisper to her, unwilling to pierce the silence myself, to find a good spot as we wander the yard.

Almost directly overhead is the big dipper, sitting upside down, spilling good wishes down upon us. Orion’s belt has long since gone to bed. “Hi Dad,” I whisper. “Here’s to a New Year. Another one starting without you and mom.”

And then I pause, a bit of happiness floating from me up to him. “Well, not really without you…I feel you right here. See you tomorrow morning…say hi to Mom”

Katie and I head silently back to the house. At the front porch she stands on her back legs asking to be picked up. I do, picking up her awkwardly lopsided bobble-headed cone encased self and give her a tight hug and a kiss.

“Happy New Year baby-girl, Happy New Year.”

Happy New Year mama!

Happy New Year mama!