Tuesday, April 06, 2004

A Balm for the Soul

I watched the news tonight and it was one of those broadcasts that left my wife and I depressed, sad and angry. More Marines dead, more battles raging in Iraq, so-called conscience laws for pharmacists who won't dispense legally prescribed medicines, remembering the masacres in Rwanda... the list goes on for way too long.

So, despite that opening paragraph, I want to tell you about something small and beautiful and innocent; something that, for a short time can help you forget about the madness of the world.

This past weekend it snowed here near Rochester, NY. It's a little late in the season, but not unheard of. There was lots of seed in our bird feeders, but when I took my camera outside, I wasn't really thinking of birds, but rather the scenery. I opened the back door and stepped out into the arctic wind and blowing snow. I took a shot or two of some grand old oaks through the snow - and they came out beautifully. But after all the noise of opening the door and snapping away with my digital camera, as I turned away, I saw a small shape in the tree just 15 feet or so from the back porch.

I was pretty amazed, but I guess the lure of lots of easy food was too much to overcome the desire to flee my none too quiet presence. Of course the fact that the wind was blowing at around 25 miles an hour and the snow reduced visibility to just half a mile or less may have had something to do with it as well. But there in the small, bare tree next to our newest feeder was this little finch. I snapped about eight or so pictures and then quietly went indoors where I watched him for at least another half an hour while he ate. And ate. And ate! I'm not sure how he got himself and all that seed on the wing, but a little while later he was gone.

As I looked at this picture and the others I took I thought how wonderful it is that while humans are so busy making a mess of their world, a little bit of nature manages to live on as if none of the rest of it were happening. I hope that this picture brings a little peace to you, too. Enjoy.

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