This morning I stepped out on the front porch to breathe in the cold air, see the sunshine, and wonder about my day. The street is very quiet. The school across the street lies empty, of course, for the last ten days. The snow from yesterday was still quiet and solid; it was pretty cold.
Then I heard it: the insistent rapping, rapping, rapping of a woodpecker across the neighbourhood. It was probably a block or more away, but it was clear and persistent.
Spring is here. This is early spring here in our part of the Maritimes, whether there is a pandemic or not. There is strong, penetrating sunshine, crisp and still shocking cold, icy pavements, and birds eking out a meal from the insects that are embedded in trees whose sap is starting to run.
A little later, I took my coffee out to the back deck where the sun was strongest. Not clever enough to wear my jacket, I knew I’d only be out a few minutes, but it was enough. When I was able to still my mind, I could hear a mourning dove, probably two streets away. Then a gull, closer. Then I could tune in to some twittering in bushes near me. There was a veritable spring symphony going on out there.
Birds are back in business. It is romance season, time to get your songs fired up, mark out your territory, make note of food sources, shift from seeds to insects for some. They don’t know or care about what agitates me. They are intent, as always, on their own journeys, their own lives. The intensity of their biological drives to survive and to help their species survive, one mating season at a time.
I know that spring isn’t an inevitable thing. I know that our songbird stock is vastly small than a century ago. I know that climate change or a volcanic eruption or an asteroid hit could make all of this go away.
But I am also warmed and comforted and encouraged by the continuity of the birds, and the procession of the seasons, and the feeling that life itself is our best resource in hard times. Life has a way of asserting itself under all sorts of conditions. When I tune into the assertive voices of Life Going On, I can remember that I am part of that, too, and so are you.
EDITED to add: here is a lovely bit of Mozart with birdsong …and video