This morning I put on my leather gloves and went outside to split the last of the firewood for the winter. The weather has been so nice and I hate to waste a minute of it. It won't be long before the cold will win out, and I'll spend more time near the woodstove.
Looking out the window, it felt good to see all that dry wood stacked near the house. It's not often I feel a little twinge of security when I look at the woodpile. It's been years since I've had all my winter's wood up before it snows. Like I said, the weather has been so nice this past week, and I got the urge to keep at it until the job was done. Now I have time to do some other things in the garden and flowerbeds. There are still some perennials I'd like to move before the ground freezes.
I sprinkled some sunflower seeds and some of the split blocks of wood and started raking up the wood chips and loose bark. It didn't take the chickadees long to find the birdseed and they kept me company while I worked. It's very special to have the wild ones near me when I'm outdoors. It's why I plant so many flowers, so the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are near me while I work. A few sunflower seeds here and an orange slice there will bring the cardinals and orioles closer to me. There are four tray feeders at four different windows on the house, and a suet feeder or two just outside the window. All year round the birds are with me, whether I'm working inside or out. There is no better way to enhance your life than to have nature a part of it as much as possible. By letting mother nature be a part of our world, she will, in turn, let us be a part of hers.
The old fallen tree stump is covered with rich green moss. The cottonwood tree blew over in the wind ten years ago, and is slowly being reclaimed by the earth. The old stump may be dead, yet it's a living work of art.
Another one of Nature's works of art is in the now-bare branches of a lilac bush. A cardinals' nest stands out like a sore thumb now, but last summer it was hidden by leaves and sweet lavender flowers. I planted that lilac as a sucker only eight years ago, and now it's home for a family of cardinals. It makes me think I had a part in raising those young cardinals that stayed around the yard all summer.
The large patch of goldenrod across the road is also a work of art in brown, beige and cream. There's no sign of any green life in the dried stalks and leaves, and the downy seed heads catch the light. The last apple on the tree reminds me of a Christmas tree ornament that was overlooked when the tree was taken to the curb after the holidays.
No matter what time of year it is, the stream that runs through the meadow always seems to be alive. The babbling water speaks to me and draws me over for a closer look. The sunlight or moonlight always ascends the ripples as the silver water dances over the rocks. When there doesn't seem to be any other life around, the little stream talks to me and gently opens my heart.
This morning, Fred the Fox squirrel made his way up to the window feeder. Unlike his cousins, the slightly smaller Gray squirrels, the Prairie Fox squirrel is a less frequent visitor to the bird feeders. He is outnumbered by the Grays 20 to 1, but always has his choice of where to eat. Besides, he knows by now that I mean him no harm, and he lets me walk right up to him. He just sits there and keeps on eating. He seems to enjoy my company.
After a colder than normal October, the month of November has been just the opposite. It's mid-November, and it really hasn't been cold enough to snow yet. It gets down in the 30-degree range at night sometimes, but only on nights that are cloudless. These cold November night skies have been crisp and clear, with the stars a million times too numerous to count. It's my favorite time of year to star gaze. It always fills my mind with questions and my heart with longing. What would life be like without new perspectives?
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