The Quints


The geese have quints.  After several weeks on the nest, mom now sits under her babies, who love to nestle in the fold between her wing and back.  It makes her less than nimble as she tries to get up to answer the warning call of her mate, who has detected an intruder on the pond. But, after shaking the little balls of yellow fluff off her back, and then helping them get upright in the soft mud, she was able to lead them into the channel between our backyard ponds, where her mate landed to be their protection.


Beauty in the Wind

ImageCancer surgeries and the lousy weather have curtailed outdoor activities for me this winter.  What little time I am outdoors is usually either shoveling or quick jogs to get the mail, take out the trash or shake out my rugs and linens. 

It was the latter activity that had me out on the deck overlooking the pond on Sunday after dinner. I was grumbling. I had spent the better part of the day in the kitchen, cooking and then cleaning, while my family enjoyed their Sabbath rest.  As I stepped outside, the wind was brisk and the air was pregnant with the promise of at least one more Monday morning snowstorm.  Sighing, I lowered my head and kicked at the ice on the deck. (Didn’t I just chop that all away a few days ago?) Spring was a long time away.

I heard them before I saw them. “Honk!  Honk!” and the rush of wings on the wind.  They cast a shadow across the deck as they came in low; maybe checking the pond behind our house for a landing spot?   Muttering “Crazy geese, your nesting spots are still all frozen,” I looked skyward. 

A long, black beak, beautiful white body; the incomparable nasal horn-like call.  They weren’t Canada geese at all, but a trio of stunningly beautiful trumpeter swans. Their cries echoed across the frozen water as they rose above the trees and turned to the northwest, into the wind and the approaching late winter storm.

From the Chickadees

I have an important decision to make.  It is which doctor (actually which hospital) to choose for surgery. 

I was awake half the night weighing my options in the darkness.  I got up this morning and did a little more research.  I posted a note on Caring Bridge to see if people weighed in.  I started writing a pros-and-cons list for each doctor, each facility. This may surprise some who know me (or not), but I am an indecisive person.  I waffle, I waver, I hem and haw, decide, change my mind, decide again.  Make a final decision and then second-guess myself.

It’s not just human nature.

A pair of chickadees are making their nest in our yard. They have been pulling fibers out of a rug I left on the deck railing to dry. They have been flitting so close to my family-room window to gather lint out of the dryer vent that I thought they were going to fly into the window.  

Two days ago, they had chosen my newest birdhouse — a swank pale yellow house swagged in pearls and discarded earrings.  It is a stunner — what real estate agents would say has great “curb appeal.”  

Yesterday, I could hear the trill of the chickadees and followed the sound.  There they were,  he  on a fencepost, she a few feet away on the roof of the house, looking down the fence at the rest of the real estate in the neighborhood.

A wren house, a woven hanging basket type, was just too rustic for their refined tastes.  A couple of others too big.  One, its entryway beak-carved and chiseled out, has been remodeled by a much larger bird.     

Ah, the duplex.  Two stories of jewel-toned wonder.  Simple, yet stylish, and very functional.  He sat in silence as she flew past the row of larger houses made for much larger birds, past the wren house, and landed on the perch outside the duplex. 

I could just imagine her saying, as she trilled:  “Look honey!  This is so much more practical.  It is the perfect size.  And I love the color.  And an extra bedroom.  Maybe next year the kids will come back and stay with us.”

Second guesses.  Even after all that work. 

And so the move was on. They have abandoned their original selection, moving bed and bedding.  And, except for several thousand trips back and forth to the bird feeder, they have stopped most of their activity. 

I think they have settled on the duplex. Good for them. 

Now I can get back to my decision.  I have two good doctors to choose from.  One of them is especially good looking and comes with a fabulous pedigree and great patient reviews. The other is a competent and compassionate doctor who did surgery on my daughter last year. 

As He so often does, God has provided.  Twice!  I have been looking for signs from God as to which one to choose.  Do I take my cue from the chickadees?