Observations From Eden

There is one journal I’ve kept hidden, but no more.

The first entry is dated January 6th 2011, and the last is August 8th, 2012…along the top of the page it reads’, in the same ink, Yuriks Pharm. and a 1-888 number, and a name CHRIS. Such was my life at the time. Yurik’s Pharmacy was the supplier for one of the realities of Tim’s dying days.

The entries are brief. Point form often.

IMG_0907

My intention was to record the natural flora and fauna that surrounded the lake. Primarily though it was the myriad of birds that graced our wee Cottage Garden that I recorded, thus I labeled this journal – Feeder Observations.

Cardinals brought in their 2 “babies” into the D.F. (Deck Feeder). Female in between the two siblings – didn’t get that pic (couldn’t get to camera in time) but got the two siblings.

On the first page – dated 01/06/2011 – reads

9:56: Walk w/Irish – around Hungarians
* Deer Tracks – fresh
– tracks 2 1/2in approx.
* Chickadees in Cedars @ Lake
* Frost on trees & surfaces
* Blue sky w/clouds

For awhile I suppose I was embarrassed by this strange journal, but I now see its merits. During that painful last year of Tim’s life, this project helped me to focus. Underneath that first entry, I rather pompously even laid out the “Cataloguing Notes” that would establish the guidelines of my “Irish Lake Ecological Study“.

These were my lofty goals

  • water quality
  • general study of species diversity
  • general soil study
  • ecological history of Irish Lake.

These dry observations now strike me as sounding so lonely, which I guess is the primary reason I’ve not really known how to present this journal. I find it at once fascinating in its details, but as well how these entries are often completely devoid of the reality that had began to encapsulate me.

** WINDOW FROM KITCHEN 9:30am
– weather Hi: +1 Lo: -14 degrees Celsius.
* Lots & lots of chickadees
* Put out Black Oil Sunflower seed on Saturday – snow storm all wknd so 1st birdies @ feeders 9:30am today.
* Heard the chickadees call out – I guess telling their mates about the bounty they found.
* Juncos investigated – but haven’t returned yet – 9:52am.
* Couple chickadees pecking for bugs on Shirley’s Tree {planted in honour of Tim’s Mom in 2006 – a Whispering Pine}.
* One brave chickadee came down to inspect the seed on the carpet (frozen) draped over the trunk {found the summer before at the dump}.
* Saw one grab 1 seed and fly up to a branch in the Cedar to eat it- then it does some plumage maintenance.
* Feeding over – no chickadees @ 10:01am
* @ 10:02 saw one fly into the Cedar – but can’t see it. Another flew from the Spruces @ the Hungarians to over Cedar Hedge – but none at Feeders.

I viciously guarded this time. There I sat every morning, with a coffee and smoke, and observe, and read my book. Often I would wake at dawn, and right there at the kitchen table, in full view of the lake, quietly watch the day begin. Towards the end of Tim’s life the entries become less frequent, and the observations have a more confident, experienced tone. This mere “ecological study of Irish Lake”, had become more of an ecological story of Irish Lake:

SYNOPSIS OF RECENT ACTIVITY– date: 05/01/2012
“Have seen the odd Junco lately – just 1 per day. Lots of Goldfinch, Purple Finch pairs and we’ll often see their arial acrobatics as they fly at each other. Female Purple Finch are often aggressive as well – frequently dominating the feeders. Also see the odd chickadee still. Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers still around, but more out front @ the suet. The Purple Finch I believe are nesting in the Cedars near the Compost. Cowbirds are visiting, sometimes separately and sometimes together. Also see the Blue Jays, but they’re often quieter and on their own.
– Dogwoods about to flower (in bud), Service berries flowering, crabapples finishing, Hepatica almost done, but not yet, Wood Ferns unfurling, Common rue too.

I read this now, and it brings back these sharp memories. These times of peaceful observation were the times I gathered back together my sanity. This time had a meditative quality, and thus helped me to focus. As I found often that throughout the day, and often throughout the night, I would be stretched and torn and so full of anxiety and fear, that by morning I needed this release, this re-energizing. These observations provided me a means of self replenishment.


date: 05/05/2012
Conditions: Sunny, w/bit of cloud HI: 16 LO 2 – SUPERMOON Tonite
* Saw male Red-breasted GROSBEAK yesterday early evening. Female today.
date: 05/06/2012 Conditions: Sunny (no temps recorded)
*Sandpiper on beach this morning.
* 3:55pm HUMMINGBIRD just came up to sliding door then flew off 🙂 We just put up the new feeder we found at the garage sale.
* Also put up a Nyger seed sock – finches all using today.

That year I watched the butterflies gathering, the Tiger Swallowtails, Red Admirals. I watched rare delights, and found peace within.

{to be continued}

ps: This was my 500th post WOOTWOOT 🙂

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