A Welcome Visit from a ‘Plague’

This first morning of this new year is shrouded in fog and wet with drizzle. Rufus made it only as far as the hedge to lift his leg before heading back inside. The gloomy weather suits my inclination to draw inward. I have faith the sun will break through soon enough with warmth and light so I am grateful that today, nature has provided this close-up lens to better see what’s outside and within me.

I write this from my bed, luxuriously and without guilt. The three windows in my bedroom have the best view although I mostly stare at this screen until distracted, then inspired, by bird activity. Who is zooming back and forth? Tossing off my quilt, I pad barefoot into Molly’s room for a view of the driveway and front yard. I peek down at the feeder where a squirrel, upside-down and glommed on, is successfully keeping the sparrows and downy woodpeckers watching from the hedge for the rodent to be done. The birds that roused me out of my own perch, are grackles. A group of grackles is called a ‘plague’ and a few dozen cover the lawn and driveway busy getting tipsy on fermented crabapples. I watch until they lift off together, their wings flapping so furiously in unison, it sounds like a gust of wind! Watch and listen!

Listen! At the end you’ll hear the gust as they lift off!

I could spend my day bird and tree watching and would consider it a good one. This is who I have always been and am increasingly embracing: content to watch the wildlife, the seasons, the light. It is almost noon and I might remain here even longer to watch the slow drama of rain droplets, glistening like ornaments on branch tips, hanging on even with the swaying of a breeze or the raucous swarm of birds. I admire the fractal genius and grace of these branches, even the tiniest lifting towards the sky. Curiosity? Longing? Joy? And imagining down below, beyond my view, magnificent roots mirroring this reach – but into the darkness, for sustenance, history, love. A marvel.

It is a good morning after a good night. In past New Year’s eves I have set expectations for myself – to do the ritual cleaning, make some meaningful food like lentils or noodles, black-eyed peas – whatever good luck meal I’d read about that sounded delicious. Likely, I would spend the evening drinking and eating with generous friends, forcing myself to stay up to midnight for the countdown with not-my-music blaring, noise-makers at the ready. Not this year. In bed before 11, I read before turning the light off to sleep — only vaguely aware of the amp-up of firework explosions marking midnight. Cozy, so content to be doing exactly what I wanted. It feels like a gift of aging that has been hurried along by the restrictions of this pandemic: ignore the expectations of others and (harder) myself and follow my true nature. I know that more social beings have been suffering in this plague and I am sorry for that.

My wish for us all in this new year is joy, LOVE! and so much laughter – but also plenty of contemplation, flora and fauna filled hours!

6 thoughts on “A Welcome Visit from a ‘Plague’”

  1. This is so beautifully written Tricia! You are inspiring me to draw peace in quietude and languish there.

  2. Hello Tricia and Happy New Year! (Literally praying for that.) This is a beautiful written, contemplative piece. Hm…I just wrote “peace” first, by mistake, but that was the feeling your essay evoked. I loved your mention of the fractals, the roots mirroring their expanse. And I had no idea a flock of grackles was called a plague. As amazing as their patterns can be (a friend recently told us that’s called a murmuration) while in flight, their numbers are sort of creepy. Plague works.

    Our New Years’ Eve was much like yours, as was our leisurely morning – punctuated by phone visits with our kids and my sisters. My 10 day quarantine ends tomorrow, but my minor cold will persist, I’m sure, through February!

    Much love, XXOO

  3. Hi Tricia,
    Nice to read about another’s peaceful and relaxing start to 2022. Nice to discover another contact who loves to write — though I mostly do poems and only blogged for former job for businesses. Happy New Year! Hope it brings us all more peace and less stress this year!

    P.S. — Plz keep me posted on your trip/move to Portugal. I am still fantasizing about the same!


  4. Isn’t it fun, and funny to be content in bed with the lights turned off, a good book, bookmarked for next day put aside, and to hear the pot banging, and firecrackers thumping, knowing the significance and not missing out on a thing? Your photo images beautifully
    capture the wonder of the weather on January 1, 2022.

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