January 2013

- By Linda Orkin

A few weeks ago, I hung a bird feeder from the deck rail directly outside my 16-month-old granddaughter’s dining room window. It’s in a great spot; the deck is on the second floor and is surrounded by tall old red spruces. The back yard abuts the Six Mile Creek watershed; and it is a long, looping flight path from the scrub beyond the lawn to the house. You can see the birds from afar as they flit across this wide space, perching in a cherry tree that bisects their trip, than swooping in to the feeder and landing with pinpoint precision. Lily loves to watch them and sees them as they approach, long before they alight, her eyes tracking the birds with amazing precision. Blue Jays hop down through the spruce branches; chickadees line up along the deck rail, the first one in line grabbing a sunflower seed and then making way for the next to grab a mouthful; a nuthatch tips head first over the top of the feeder and departs with a seed in his upturned beak. As I watch her delight, her intense concentration, and the clarity of her spotting ability, I enter into her baby mind and see this bird activity in almost another dimension. I watch her eyes as she watches the birds, looking out to see what she is seeing, looking back to see her looking. Her face is illuminated by the light from the window, and I imagine the shadow of wings across her cheeks.

As the door to the New Year swings wide and resolutions beckon us through to the other side, let us all keep our large hearts open to the joys that nature and all of its creatures bring into our lives. I wish you peace and fulfillment in the months to come. And, I wish each of us an opportunity to bring a child to the woods and let them lead us on a path of discoveries made brand new.