Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A cacophony of traveling companions

I was awakened early this morning by a LOUD Traveling Band of birds outside my bedroom window here in Minnesota where I come "hide" to write. Red-winged Blackbirds, to be exact. My favorite. If a celebrity (say Grover from Sesame Street) asked me what type of bird I'd like to be, there you have it.

I always admire these brave birds as they tenaciously cling to the very tops of wildly swaying roadside stalks, cheering me on, extending their happy trills as I zing past them in my SUV as though I'm a marathon runner in desperate need of their offerings. Which I am.

But today, rather than watching me pass by, they discovered me planted for a spell. I wrenched my groggy self out of bed, walked down the flight of old creaky farm house steps and went out on the front porch in my flannel PJs to get a look-see. Huddled into myself against the early morning chill, I stood staring at the towering pine trees come alive with hundreds of cheering cheerleaders. Three of them were perched like black and red morning stars at the very tops of the trees. They seemed to be leading their chorus of fellow travelers suspended in the branches below them, no doubt on their way south. Lucky things. "Thank you, my traveling companions," I whispered into the brisk breezes blowing their way. "Thank you for stopping to say hello, for stopping to say good-bye."

The damp cold finally chased me in and nature called (although perhaps not in that order), so I'm not sure how long they stayed in their green wayside, but I think of them now as I type, wish them well as they dart across the friendly skies while my fingers race across these familiar keys.

Yes, thank you, dear Red-winged Blackbirds, for showing me how to cling tightly to the edges of life on the road, how to cheerfully land for a rest now and again before moving on to the next place. Thank you.

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