Saturday, April 10, 2010

Morning Gladness

I awakened this morning to loud, joyous bird song. I could choose: join the boisterous choir on the deck or miss out on this glorious celebration of a new day.

Though the temps were low (30ish), the air was calm--no breeze--and I heard the fauna of the forest. Woodpecker rhythms echoed through naked branches, songbirds trilled, two flocks of geese passed overhead, and ruffed grouse flapped their wings.

If you've never heard the sound of a ruffed grouse courting his mate, it's distinctive. Imagine a tractor starting its motor. As the ignition is switched on and gas circulates you hear the putt-putt-putt of a motor coming to life. My Birds of Wisconsin book says of ruffed grouse:
In spring, males raise crest on head, fan tail feathers and stand on logs and drum wings to attract females. Drumming sound comes from cupped wings moving air, not pounding on chest or log.
Let me just say ... there were a lot of miniature tractors out there in the woods starting their engines this morning.

I chose a spot on the deck in clear view of a flat grey sheet of Lake Superior water. It lay beneath an equally grey sky that shifted and stirred itself into separate pieces as I moved through my practice. I heard the sound of one car passing on the road below me; it whooshed by like a misplaced tornado rushing along the pavement.

My morning song was one of quiet listening. I noted the sounds of wild creatures making their way through the woods and following light, earth, and air into the day and I felt the gladness surrounding me.

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