In the past few weeks, puppies and eggs seem to be sprouting up everywhere.
One day before the knee-height pasture grass had been groomed down to its summer crew cut, I saw the neighbor’s old hunting dog miniaturized by the tall verdance. I peered out my window and exclaimed at the way he was obscured by the vegetation. Then I noticed that he had an uncharacteristically youthful spring in his step; indeed, he seemed to be “pronking” - the antelope-ish upward bounce. Then the neighbor’s old hound dog entered the scene and I swear I thought I was seeing double! And, actually, I was: there were two hunting dogs: the aging one I’ve known since I have inhabited the other edge of the pasture and his matching undersized twin who was tiny enough to be hidden in the unmown grass. They are the same breed, and perhaps kin (father and son, or brothers). And their human has placed matching hunting-orange collars around their necks. It was my honest mistake: a new puppy bearing incredible likeness to the old hound, bounding through the yard that had previously only been visited by his elderly companion. I have lavished that small puppy with all the cuddles, kisses, pets, and playfulness that a few minutes in the yard every now and then allow.
Four precious junco eggs were abandoned in a nest in a planter on my other neighbor’s front porch. We had cherished the find of the nest and eggs; my neighbor had even placed netting around the pot so her cat and other predators wouldn’t snatch eggs, mother, or hatchlings. But it was all too much for that mama bird and she left. I mourned.
A few days later I unhooked my hanging flower basket so that I could water it down on the floor of my deck. And what I saw tucked inside the flower stems stunned me: a thick large ring of twigs that looked like the start of a nest. Two days later when I next watered, there was a perfect sphere of twigs, hair, fur - perhaps the white fur was that from my now-deceased beloved dog who had journeyed with me for over thirteen years and who we recently had to put to sleep…there is plenty of her fur still clinging to the coarse grass in our yard. The nest had been completed. I continued to observe that during each feeding of the flowers, another egg had been laid: four, in total. I decided that if my watering disturbed the mama bird, I’d sacrifice the flowers for the birds. So far, Ms. Junco remains on the nest doing her darnedest to sit atop the eggs in that magical motherly duty that produces hatchlings. My best reckoning tells me that we’ve got another several days - or perhaps as long as a week - before those eggs are ready to crack open.
And now I’ve seen puppies of many breeds on trails, at stores, in parking lots and parks. And I always stop to cuddle, pet, exclaim, and giggle.
And now I’ve seen more birds around our home dashing to nests in birdhouses, eaves, barn rafters, roof gutters: swallows, robins, other juncos, and more. And I always stop to pay homage to the miracle of regeneration, renewal…late springtime moving forward in all its glory.
These are simple pleasures. I am not responsible for the puppies or the birds. [Though it’s clear to me that I’ll sacrifice the beautiful flowers (with commitment to replace them later, if need be) for the well-being of the five birds.] But I can delight in the appearances of all these new lives in my day: observing with awe, photographing at will, knowing that all of this will pass too soon as the puppies grow into their adult bodies and the eggs hatch, and birds eventually fledge.
I also know that it is all very transient and precarious…and perhaps all the more precious because of that.
All blog images created & photographed by Jennifer J. Wilhoit unless otherwise noted. Please circulate images with photo credit: "©2018 JenniferJWilhoit/TEALarbor stories. AllRightsReserved."