Drinking up this last one.

Some days the birds are so joyful in my garden that they appear to be beside themselves with exuberance. The finches and warblers gather at the chapel feeder, and then a few fly off into the trees to peck around, I assume for insects. A sparrow swoops toward the fountain, and then pauses, and twists midflight into a hairpin turn back the way it came. I have watched this fancy wing-work many times, as this morning from my spot by the table, which is now a sort of icon corner also. If the birds can have so much fun, maybe I should not worry about the way I flit about in my own little realm.

On a morning like today, when the sun is shining, it can be quite lively with titmice, chickadees and towhees, too. I’m afraid the hawks notice this activity; several times there have been brief encounters when they dive silently onto the playground of little birds, and the sound and size of their wings catches my attention — then they are gone.

But twice this month it happened. Once after the attack the raptor sat on the fence, backlit by the morning sun; I could see the shape and size of it, and the color of its breast. The next time I saw its dark gray back just before it disappeared. I think it was a Cooper’s Hawk. When I read about them, their habit of eating smaller birds was mentioned.

The last day of October is quieting my heart. I know, in the coming months it will be a struggle, to get myself outdoors as much as I know is sublime and profitable, but today was easy. Even the honeybees were enjoying my warm corner with the salvia that has many new little flowers on the ends of mostly dried-up stems. When I first sat down there, the bees were a little slow, but as the temperature rose so did their speed.

So many days of the month have been dreary and discouraging. I think at the beginning of it the plants were suffering from heat and smoke. Now they like the clean and cooler air. I forgot to water the succulents under the manzanita, and one poor specimen is showing just how it feels to be hanging on with one’s roots, conserving water, letting go of leaf after leaf while waiting for the gardener to bring refreshment.

But the majority are enjoying what might be their favorite, blooming time of year:

These last few hours of October are full to bursting with the beauty of the season. I know tomorrow will not be much different from today, in reality. But in our minds…. we remember that it’s time to turn the page of the calendar.

A jasmine flower just opened.

13 thoughts on “Drinking up this last one.

  1. It’s still October here, two hours to go. My evening, which has been long and dark– our neighborhood being closed in on  itself from COVID-fear, when normally the children next door and across the street and up and down the block would be out walking with their imaginations on display and their parents smiling behind their flashlights–  my evening now is lit up by your words and photos. A sweet surprise, thank you Gretchen. I especially liked your linking, perhaps unintentionally, the notion of an icon corner with images of birds seen through the window, as if nature’s grace-full creatures could inspire prayer (and we know they do). I’m so glad I saw your post in time to prepare for tomorrow, All Saints Day for Western Christians. A few hours earlier I was reading “To Autumn” by John Keats, whose birthday is celebrated today, and those birds of yours reminded me of the poem’s final stanza with its collection of musical images– swallows “twittering” (yes, hard to hear now) and robins chiming in, but also the “choir” of gnats, the singing of hedge-crickets, bleating of lambs, and even the sound of the wind. It was nice to have the opportunity to connect your garden with all holy persons and things. Happy October’s End.

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  2. Ah, Albert, I can count on you… I had sat there to pray, and kept looking up from my prayer book to watch the birds and the bees, not sure if it was truly an interruption. But I think I see now how I had merely been shifting my gaze to that other icon. The link was not intentional on my part, but not entirely unconscious, either! Thank you.

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  3. Thank you dear Gretchen for this lovely, peace filled post. Glad you were able to enjoy another day in your garden.

    **Some days the birds are so joyful in my garden that they appear to be beside themselves with exuberance. If the birds can have so much fun, maybe I should not worry about the way I flit about in my own little realm.** Those words really spoke to me.

    Have a lovely day and first week of November ~ FlowerLady

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have so many beautiful succulents. That corner you sit in sounds like a perfectly lovely spot. Before we had a cat I kept our bird feeders near the house so I could easily watch the birds. I also kept a field guide handy for identifying foreign visitors we would get now and then. But now the feeders are in the middle of the yard so kitty can’t hide in ambush. It’s a little harder to see them now, but I’m happy knowing they visit here. We’ve seen the raptors many times coming to attack our songbirds. One time, a squirrel was on top of the feeder pole and froze when a huge shadow flew overhead! Poor squirrel! It must be rough living your life knowing you could be someone’s meal one day!

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  5. Your garden is so lovely! Our flowers are all gone now but the marigolds are shedding their seeds for next year’s blooms.

    I saw a big blue jay stop at the bird bath for a drink. So pretty!

    God be with you, dear GJ!

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  6. We have had many gloomy days in October, too. And cold ones. Not a lot of sun and when you get it, you grab it and try to hold onto every moment, every bird, every bloom. We are in for 60 degree weather for the next few days — and I plan to do exactly that. The days are too short and so is autumn to waste a sunny day.

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  7. Lovely post. November is often one of the best months for us here along the Gulf Coast of Texas, with bright sun and cool temperatures. I was astonished to see a Cooper’s Hawk on my fence yesterday. I never thought that he was watching the little birds who come to my feeders.

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