Sunday, April 03, 2011

This, That and the Other..

I am writing this accompanied by the gurgle of Water from the melting Snow on the roof. I have placed receptacles to catch some of the melt...the Earth seems muddy and wet right now, but it will not take long to dry. On a well Water system, I have learned to use what Nature provides, with regards to precipitation, as much as I can.

The splashing of the running Water is loud to my ears at first, and then recedes to the background. During the last week, much Snow has melted. I am beginning to see the blackened remains of last year's garden. I wonder to myself...How will I ever get these garden beds presentable?...and even as the thought drifts through my mind, I know it will all get done eventually.

It's the way of it, in the Spring...

It is a strange sort of Spring this year. While I have so much to be grateful for, there are other things which I am not so joyful about. I find, to my dismay, some days...more days than not... that I am tending to more negative than positive thoughts and emotions. My intent is to change that not so insignificant way of being.

As I begin to rake the Flower beds, ridding them of the blackened Leaves and Stalks still standing, even after five feet of Snow covered and surrounded them for most of the I begin, I wonder if that is just the way of it, too...the late Winter-early Spring blues that can take hold, darkening every thing and thought with a touch of the same black the Leaves hold...

When I look back over the sixty Winters of my life, I believe I've felt this way every year at the end of the season...perhaps the feeling is a part of the rites of Spring.

There are flocks and flocks of Birds travelling through, on their way to their breeding grounds. It sounds like I'm in an aviary when I open the doors to the outside...shrieks and twitters and pure musical notes surround the Forest. The bird feeder requires filling every few days...watching who has fought and won for the best access to the seed takes up much of my time.

I must remember, I tell myself as I pull on a mushy Peony stalk, finally breaking off the recalcitrant thing, that all these Birds and their babies become drunk with joy and seed and Spring. They fly every which way, with no concern for glass windows and doors. Should the window or door be open...well, in a Bird's reasoning, there is no cause not to explore the dim interior of our home.

And if the door or window is closed, the sickening thumps tell me a Bird has flown directly against it. Most times, Birds recover, after a period of rest and recuperation, where they all look surprised and shocked at the clear obstacle that stood in their way.

Some Birds, of course, cannot survive the blow...these we bury in the garden. And some of seems to me as if they appreciate that shocking smack into the glass. I will watch the same Bird try over and over again to fly into the house. Over and over again, he will hit the glass.

This, to me, is the definition of insanity. When something doesn't work and one keeps doing the same thing continuously anyway...doesn't it seem like there must be something not quite right?

As I rake Limbs, Leaves and Fir Needles off the half-frozen Flower beds, I muse over Lucky, who has not bounced back after Nate's death.He has turned into a completely different Dog, with hardly any interest in anything at all.

On the day of Nate's death, a huge herd of Deer came to the lower gate. It was the oddest thing I've seen. Deer are always around here, but rarely in such large numbers, all at once. It seemed they were not interested in food or even browsing for it. They stood at the gate, looking up at Lucky, who sat on the deck.

There was no sound out of either Lucky or the Deer. If communion was occurring, it was done in complete stillness. It felt very like the Deer were offering their condolences to Lucky on the death of Nate.

After some time had passed, I continued my raking, leaving Lucky and the Deer to stare at each other. I could feel the empathetic energy in the Air, be it in a personalized manner or not.

The young Deer I have written about previously stood at the very entrance, his nose barely able to clear the top of the gate itself. The whole scenario...the youngster and the herd of Deer behind him... seemed so remarkable to me.

I felt a little as if I was intruding on some peculiar, private moment between the Deer and Lucky and after a time, I left them to it.

There was another moment, just before Nate's death, where I felt I was intruding in a particularly human way. I took a photo...and as soon as I did, I knew that photo would be a private one.

Nate was lying on his side on the floor. Lucky was in his bed. But suddenly, Lucky got up and lay down facing Nate, nose to nose. Knowing that Nate would be gone the next day, tears came instantly to my eyes...and then the practical, unbelieving side of me took hold for a moment. But the two of them stayed that way for a long, long time, nose to nose.

The practical, unbelieving side of me fled. I knew I was witnessing an extraordinary act, where the two Dogs were saying goodbye. 

The photo I took will remind me that Animals mourn, just as we do, but that they also have an extra sense which allows them to communicate without words.

I am thankful that I am blessed with a strong sense of awareness. I would not have missed either of these two events for the World. Had I been focused entirely upon myself and how sad I felt, I could easily have overlooked them.

The Snow continues to melt. I have decided the gushing gurgling of the Water from the melting Snow is the sound of Spring to me, almost more than the Bird song.

When the gurgling stops, Winter has ended.

And Bird song has just begun..


  1. What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Marion. I do believe animals mourn. What an amazing thing to witness, the herd of seems almost mysical.

    Your Spring photos are vibrant and happy. I hope the beauty of Spring renews your spirit, sweet lady.

    Love & Blessings,
    Marion (already picking tomatoes!)

  2. Layers of life like a winter worn garden need constant refreshing so as not to be bogged down. The gurgling of water and a bird’s thump on the glass are opposite reminders … not only of the sweetness of spring but also of the work that is ahead. People in touch with their natural selves feel empathy that goes beyond sound. People to people; animal to animal and people to animal are connected as one.

  3. What an Ode to the end of Winter, to the beginning of have captured this both in words and photos magnificently!

    As for Nate, Lucky and the deer......oh yes, I believe animals say "goodbye" and mourn just as we do..... I cried from the beauty, poignancy and TRUTH of this.... the pain of losing a beloved one (be it animal or human)is so never really heals...apart of one's heart and being remains scarred forever....but one MUST love, must remain open to giving of one's heart and soul. I pray the Lucky and the Deer helped each other - and that now with Spring beginning to arise where you are, Lucky will regain some interest in the world around him.

    Sending warm, Spring-scented hugs from "the South" of you..... my Mockingbird has I know Spring has reached San Francisco.

    Love, always,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  4. Enjoy each melting drop of snow as the sound moves you closer to spring and the warmth of the sun. Lucky may take a while to come around...

  5. a beautiful story about your two dogs and the deer and the nature that surrounds you. I do think sometimes the seasonal transitions are difficult and thought provoking. Ah well, thank you for taking me into your beautiful world.

    I dont believe I congratulated you regarding your two dear grandchildren. They are so sweet, what a blessing and gift to your life.

    Be well as spring awakens the earth, Suki

  6. Beautiful post Marion. I am always a little blue and happy to see one season go and another come.
    I love the story of Lucky and the deer and Nate and Lucky. I do think animals mourn, but they unlike us seem to move on faster, at least mine have. Lucky is probably lonely for a partner and would likely perk up if you got another dog. Grief is something we all do differently. Hugs and love. xoxo

  7. i had tears reading this post marion, you know me. hugs to lucky.

  8. Marion,

    Tomatoes already!!!! Wow. I can't even imagine that...even when I lived on the Coast, there was no way I'd be able to harvest tomatoes in April! Way to go...I'll be posting about tomatoes in September...heh!

    aka Penelope,

    You have left such a beautiful comment...thank you for understanding so well. Your first sentence..."Layers of life like a winter worn garden need constant refreshing so as not to be bogged down." So much truth in that!


    I love the mockingbird! So far I've seen Nuthatches, pileated Woodpeckers, mountain Chickadee...and I caught a glimpse of your namesake, the Robin, the other day. I can count on the weather becoming warmer when I see the Hummingbird.

    I keep my bird book handy during the early Spring. There are so many flocks of birds, some of whom I've not seen before. They pass through here on their way to their breeding grounds further North.

    Dear old Lucky...he's having bed wetting problems these days. It may be due to medication he's been given. I certainly hope so...he feels very embarrassed..

  9. I'm sorry your heart is heavy at this time Marion, but I know you have a grasp of the whys and know it will all pass.

    The story of Lucky and Nate nose to nose really got to me, as did the deer. Amazing, our little animal spirits. They teach us so much.

    I have to respond to your email when I have some uninterrupted time. Wow, is one response!

    Big hugs to you as you continue to greet the smatterings of spring that come your way.


  10. The melancholy you mention comes to me in autumn. Let it in and let it out and somehow we become enriched by it. How wonderful that you could witness your dogs and the deer and the silent communications. We have much to learn from animals, don't we?

  11. When one of my husband's cows loses a calf shortly after birth, she definitely mourns. She will stand alone near a fence, as close to the spot she last saw her calf, and hang her head and look absolutely miserable. It is sad to see. She will usually do this for two or three days. It breaks your heart.
    The chimes I've hung in front of the picture window have made a big difference, thank goodness. They aren't a 100% deterrent to the birds, but let's say 95%. I'm going to hang more.
    We still have lots of snow so it's nice to hear that you're already out raking. Soon, soon it will be my turn! Yesterday Scott rented a big machine and spent the afternoon moving snow away from the house, hoping to prevent at least some water from coming into the basement.

  12. rottrover:

    You're right...Lucky is still not the same, but he is showing more interest in what's going on. He sleeps a lot now; he is aging as well and would not be as bouncy as he once was at any rate.


    Thank you for such a lovely comment. The twins continue to grow...they both have really sweet chubby cheeks!

    Generally, autumn feels bittersweet to me, but this year, that long winter has me down now and again, but even the snow that falls is so spring-like now...mushy and soft, soon to depart.

    I thank the powers-that-be..

    Annie Coe,

    I think you're right in that animals are more accepting of death and carry on faster than humans. I was thinking of getting a kitten, but the Forest has too many predators here...I will have to wait till we retire to the coast.

  13. Alison,

    so glad you're back safely...your photos of your trip to New Zealand are truly pieces of art. It sounds like you had a great trip!xo

    Studio Lolo,

    The nose to nose behaviour with the dogs broke my heart, as well. I wanted them to stop, to help my own reaction, but of course I didn't. I'm glad the two had their time together...xo


    I love this sentence..."Let it in and let it out and somehow we become enriched by it." I agree totally. Somehow, something we require is learned through all the seasonal transitions. xo

    Kate of the North,

    I know what you mean by the mourning cows. The valley is filled with the bawling of cows when the calves are being branded, lost or taken. It is so sad. I'm told the cows get accustomed to losing calves; I'm not sure I believe that.

    I heard about a snow storm hitting your area last week. It is snowing here this morning, but by afternoon it is usually gone. If the side yard doesn't lose its covering of snowy ice soon, I will be digging through it to find my garden beds! xo

  14. Hi Marion, I came by earlier and tried to leave a comment but my computer locked up.
    So, trying again.

    So loved all your beautiful pictures!
    And that story about your dogs laying nose to nose was so touching!
    I truly believe that animals mourn.

    Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post!


  15. I read this and wanted to leave a comment but could'nt at the time and now I am running out the door to drive to NYC...but just wanted to tell you that the nose to nose thing -'s extraordinary.
    have a good weekend

  16. Reading your words has given renewed hope that the blues of Winter will pass. For I have and feel that the funk that comes every year before the Spring pops up and says "Here I am."
    Your most tender love story of Nate and Lucky is an epitaph for unconditional love. My heart space filled with an emotion and a condition that could only be described as Love.
    The water that gurgles bring the rebirth the newness of life and the hope of warm.

    Thank You

  17. Could your downer just be lack of sunlight after the long night of winter indoors?
    Although I too notice a bit of sadness these days even though the mood should be upbeat with the spring.

    But I will bet being outdoors with heal us.

  18. Marion: You are a gifted storyteller, with a beautiful awareness about you. Your posts always mesmerize me, and I feel so incredibly connected with what you say, almost as if I am walking through your yard with you!

    Have you ever considered writing a book?

    Love & Light ~ Nicole

  19. Hello, Marion,

    This is such a lovely piece of writing. And your photos just make me want to be there. I can smell the fresh fragrances of spring and hear the water gurgling. Your observations of the animals and their obvious consciousness are done by a person comfortable with peace and silence.


  20. I miss that smell!! I have only recently realized that since living in the south, I haven't "smelled a melt" for so long, I really miss it. It's a very distinctive scent! So, your post made me somewhat nostalgic today, Marion!

    Hope all is well in your northern springtime.