Friday, July 09, 2004

Nature's Little Blessings

Nature seemed determined to bless me today.

It started with breakfast on the deck under bright skies and in moderate temperatures. As pleasant and fine as that was, it turned out to be just the start. After amusing ourselves with our separate but pleasurable pursuits for the morning, we rejoined each other back on the deck for lunch. The neighbourhood birds did everything they could to add to the glory of the day. A pair a beautiful cardinals put in a brief appearance, and then a strikingly brilliant goldfinch perched by a pretty-in-pink Echinacea flower. Sparrows flitted in and out of Sue's two beautifully painted birdhouses. She painted the birdhouses to adorn, not to be functional, but the birds have their own ideas. And when Mrs Sparrow pokes its head out of the portal and peaks about, I consider the adornment complete. After Mrs Sparrow spends a little quality time in the birdhouse, she likes to hop up on the fence and chirp her heart-lifting trills. Perhaps I am deluding myself, but I like to think that she sings for us, that it's her way of thanking us for the little house.

After a little more puttering about in the early afternoon, we headed off to Tim's for coffee. You may have to be Canadian to appreciate this, but permit me tell the rest of you that Tim Horton's is a Canadian marvel. No frilly Starbucks for the average Canuck. You can only have one kind of coffee at Tim's, but it's good coffee: the coffee by which Canadians judge all others. Yes, we have our bit of heaven in Canada: plain, simple, and robust — very much like the people of this country. But I digress.

We took our two extra-large-double-creams to The Bay, sat on a bench, sipped the java, and soaked up the view. Water is so uplifting; and, even if the view on the far shore isn't so grand ... well, we can just ignore it and focus on the positive. After sitting and sipping for a while, we strolled along the flat and nicely cobbled bank, frequently stopping to enjoy the ducks and the geese — some in the water and some on shore. The little ones don't have to do anything to be cute; they just are. The adults amused us by sticking their heads in the water and immodestly raising their fannies skyward. Immodest they may be, but they are also very family-oriented, unceasingly vigilant of the little ones: constantly guarding, diligently watching.

We saw a solitary, white farmyard duckling swimming nonchalantly amongst the mallards. Was he a stray, or a throwback to a recessive gene in some past crossbreeding hankypanky? an odd looking gooseI could not tell, but we also saw a goose that was quite obviously a crossbreed: part Canada Goose and part farmyard goose. It had the white fanny of a barnyard goose as well as the larger and orange beak of its barnyard cousins but the distinctive Canada Goose markings on its neck, back, and wings. It's ancestry is unimportant, however, as it acted just like any other Canada Goose and was accepted as an equal by the flock. Indeed, it was either a mother or a father, was partnered with a full-fledged, pure Canada Goose, and was guarding his or her goslings with all due diligence. This moves me: this commitment and dedication to family.

Both the odd, white ducking and the mixed-breed goose were totally at home with their friends, families and surroundings. The critters have no mirrors and are not a bit self-conscious. Their families and friends can certainly see them for what they are — different — but they care not a whit. Perhaps they are genuinely blind to the differences, but I prefer to hold that their blindness is willful — a conscious choice. I choose to believe that they say to themselves and to each other: "We're all geese (or ducks) here; that's what matters. That's what."

I choose not to belabour the obvious application that we could make for our kind. I prefer just to revel in a day when nature blessed me in so many little ways.

There are rich folk in their yachts in The Bay. I hope that they too are occasionally blessed by nature, but I cannot believe that they were any richer than I today.


Cuppa said...

Heartwarming and thoughtful. Thank you. I loved it.