During the course of my life, I have never experienced anything quite like the wildly exuberant Cariboo Spring.
The Land here is rife with Bush growing wildly and encroaching everywhere, with Birds from far away countries trilling their song from each Tree, with Deer and Fox and Rabbit and Squirrel all doing their respective mating dances...some right in front of me.
I guess it is only the Human species who want privacy during their mating dance, because it surely isn't a priority among the Animals.
I have yet to see Deer actually mate, but they show off their offspring to me with regularity. And Fox visited the other day, as silently as usual. I thought she was by herself, but once the coast was clear, meaning no Dogs around, she allowed me to see her family. There were three kits, I believe, each tumbling over each other in their eagerness to keep up with Mom.
They were outside the fence. Mom wanted to be sure there was no impediment to their getaway, should this be required.She sat in full view with her kits, her eyes meeting mine. It was a look that has passed between Mothers through the ages...full of pride, understanding, and loving patience.
The Mother Fox may have looked at ease and relaxed, as I watched. But I noticed Red-tailed Hawk fly overhead, and the next time I looked for the Fox family, they were nowhere to be seen. In just a wee instant, they were gone.
The huge Mule Deer have babies as big as an adult White-tailed Deer on the Island. There is a mother Deer here who regularly brings her rather large, still faintly spotted baby for me to admire. She will leave her youngster among a group of Fir Trees while she browses, even knowing I am watching from the deck. Should any danger approach,she will be there with her baby instantly. But on this quiet day, no danger lurked, and baby whiled away the afternoon among the Firs
Birds find a haven in the backyard in a pile of brush which is slated to be burned in the Fall, since there is presently a Fire ban. But Squirrel has recently discovered his own hiding place amidst the brush and regularly chases or even kills the young fledglings who seek safety there.
Squirrel will eventually fall prey to one of the larger Hawks who frequent the area. Hawks have babies as well and there is a very young red-tailed Hawk who lives in the Forested part of our property. I have seen him practice his killing skills...he is not very good at it, as yet. And I mourn for the Birds he maims and who will flutter and tweet, until finally the young Hawk is able to finish his kill. I mourn for the Birds who try and get away, only to fall victim to Hawk's quick strikes, tumbling into the brush with Hawk swiftly in pursuit.
It is completely silent, after one of Hawk's kills. Even the Insects fall quiet. And then, after a silent signal only Animals can see or hear, a cacophony of twitters, chirps, and buzzing begin once again.
I love to sit on the deck after chores have been completed, find my Bird book and drink my Tea. It is so interesting at this time of year; many different kinds of birds flock through this area on their way North.
There are a few Birds I do not require a book for, since they are easily recognizable. One is the Raven, of course.
There are two Ravens who make their home here with us. They love to rile the Dogs, both of whom know if their back is turned, Raven will swoop down and steal a bone. They make the Ravens big in the Cariboo...I doubt if I have even seen one quite as large as the shiny, blackish-blue Raven who believes he rules this place. He projects a royal presence...a kingly sureness.
Last year, he brought his young. Young Ravens do not have their father's strong presence...they are comical in that their feathers appear to be growing every which way, they quarrel amongst themselves, they fall off the wire to which they cling, swinging upside down, until they flutter to the ground, still cawing in that young Raven voice. It does not matter. Parents...yes, even Raven parents, are proud of their young and their parental accomplishment.
On my way to a Hospice appointment the other day, I was completely surprised by two young Eagles fighting over a Fish. They swooped and swirled, both attempting to fly and hang onto the Fish at the same time.
I was on a deserted highway, right next to a rest area, as it happens. I stopped there, and watched the Eagles as they continued to fight over the Fish. Inevitably, during a tug of war, the Fish flopped to the ground.
Even as young as the two Eagles were, they were big!
They were not interested in me, a mere Human sitting in a car. One Eagle flashed to the ground, and hopped closer to the Fish, while the other berated and grumbled and flopped about in the Air.
And then, quite inexplicably, the Eagle on the ground flew off, along with the Eagle already in the Air. The Fish flopped weakly, and then lay still. Not for long, however. One of the Eagles returned, the other nowhere in sight, and picked up the now dead Fish. He flew off with his prize.
And I drove on with my prize...a feather which had fluttered to the ground during the Eagles' brouhaha.
I am in wonderment when I arrive at my appointment and tell whoever will listen about what I've just seen. But the people I tell are all long-time Cariboo residents...they have seen Animals like this interact for a very long time...it becomes commonplace. But not for me.
Summer will be here soon, and in the dry, hot heat of a Summer's day, the Animals seek shade and Water, find the deepest part of a Forest, fly further North. Spring is bounteous and beautiful here, but it lasts for only a very short time.
I will not see most of my friends again until the Fall, when they will once more return, making our property a stopover on their way South.
I must make sure I stock up on Bird Seed, because the Cariboo Spring and its joyful creatures will have decimated my supply.
And then, perhaps, there will be another gift to me from one of them.
I consider a feather or two perfectly adequate payment!