At about 5:30 this morning, I needed a break from writing and took a cup of coffee out on the deck. The sky was soft and gray, eerily aglow with the approach of dawn. Honey came with me, and we sat for nearly an hour. The air was dead still, then in spurts, there were spritzes of light rain and and a breeze that sent yellow leaves swirling and pasting themselves on the canopy of the gazebo. We sat, Honey in her chair and I in mine, breathing the smell of rain, and staring at the the flame in the hurricane lamp, first calm and soft then flickering with the breeze.
Early morning is easiest for me these days. After his retirement, Clint was a late sleeper, and after I delivered his orange juice and paper so they would be on his bedside chest when he woke, in fair weather, I took my coffee outside.
From the deck of our house on Dunbar Creek, with the sun coming up over my shouders, it was the perfect time to spy on Great Blue Herons who nested in a group of pine trees in a marsh hummock farther down the creek. In spring and summer, there were five or six nests, and with a good pair of binoculars, I could see little bird heads peeping out of the nests waiting for their parents to flap in and land, bringing them food. Wood Storks used that hummock as a roosting area when they traveled to and from the north end of the island where they nested and the south end where they fed on the beach on St. Simons Sound. There was nearly always a Kingfisher down on the dock at that time of day.
Sitting here, sheltered from the rain, I hear songbirds beginning their chirping and trilling, readying themselves for another day. Their feeder is on the breezeway, so I see them fly back and forth, perching first on one limb and then another. Their mating season over, they have only themselves to feed. Cardinals dominate, brilliant males and drab females alike singing “what-cheer cheer cheer.” There are other birds - Carolina Chickadees and Towhees, and some chipping Sparrows. The Juncos haven’t arrived for their winter stay, but soon they will be here to join the year round residents.
I’ll take down the hummingbird feeder today. The food is cloudy, and the level hasn’t dropped in several days, so they must have moved south. I always miss them in winter. I miss their energy, their spirited flight, their visits to the feeder, their magical exuberance.
Clint was a lover of birds, too.