Hi Martha

“Hi, Refuge. I’m going to park here, with the other cars, OK?”
“Did you bring your pals?”
“Of course.”
“They’re good dogs.”
“Mostly.”
The Refuge grins. “I know how you feel about them. Thanks for keeping them close to you. The little guy looks happy.”
“Always.”
“I have some surprises for you today.”

I nod. Teddy pulls to the left. Bear walks close to my right leg. She’s decided that whether Teddy is there or not she and I will have “our” walk. Teddy smells the messages left by the dogs who belong to the rangers. By the pond there is a lot of goose shit. A dozen geese, two parents and eight nearly grown goslings, and a goose couple swim near the distant small island. Something bright blue catches my eye. It’s a vey beautiful male duck. I look him up at home and learn he is a Ruddy Duck and isn’t even in my Birds of Colorado.

The sky sends a cool breeze. This whole day has been miraculously, unseasonably cool, so cool that I was able to do yard work on the griddle, I mean front yard, chat with neighbors, take my mail from the mailman, and clean up the garden. Only the trained eye will notice how much nicer it looks. I work out there without a micron of interest, but plants love neglect, apparently. My neighbors like the flowers.

The day is so cool that the primrose that blooms in the cool evening at the Refuge has not even closed today. The milkweed is budded but not yet bloomed.

As I approach the pond on the return I notice that what I just took for granted as tree swallows is something much bigger, not that different in shape, and really interesting to watch. I think they are some kind of small raptor. At first I think “kestrels” but they don’t behave like kestrels. There are also many of them which is weird for a raptor. I’m thinking as I watch it that it’s a raptor but they don’t act like one. Not at all. It’s their feathers that say “raptor” to me, that and what I expect and what I know — the jail in which we’re trapped. They fly more like the tree swallows and are clearly hunting bugs above the water. I send them my blessing, hoping they love deer flies. They’re beautiful and I’m enchanted.

Bear is happy for me to stand watching birds however long I want. Teddy is beginning to understand it’s a thing I do. Finally I realize we should go home. It’s getting to dog’s dinner time.

“Thank you,” I say, as always to the Valley, the surrounding mountains steel gray on this cool day with some clouds hanging below the peaks. I feel again how connected I am to this place and how mysterious that connection is.

Once at home I looked up the bird. It’s a “common nighthawk” and it’s not a raptor. It’s a nightjar. They were so beautiful to watch. As I learned about the bird, I thought “The Refuge is my teacher.”

Everything this guy describes in the video, I witnessed this afternoon.

15 thoughts on “Hi Martha

  1. A couple of wonderful surprises in the Refuge today, Martha! The Common Nighthawk looks like a wonderful bird — well worth being there to see it. It sounds like a flock of them — were they migrating, or will you likely see them again? I’m glad Bear understands and Teddy is beginning to also!

    • I might try to see the again by going out at dusk, but that’s (smart birds) when the really awful bugs are out. I think it was serendipity today. It was cool and cloud-covered like evening and there they were. I would really need to live out there 24/7 to see everything as it really is.

  2. I had to smile all the way through this post! I love that you have a teacher as interesting as the Refuge… I completely lost myself in the audio of the video linked – enchanting.

  3. This is heaven, MAK. I learned so much. Please don’t judge if I want to kiss Teddy’s sweet wittle lips (I know people are rolling their eyes at this, lol). I can’t stop smiling about this post (the griddle!~that’s new to me too!). 💛🥰

    • Teddy wants you to know that he prefers being kissed between the eyes. He mentioned — accurately — dogs don’t have lips. He can be so tedious but being an Aussie, he has to be. “My sheep? No not my sheep.” Yep. The other day I got a hard lesson out at the Refuge and it did a number on me. I’m not the same person. ❤ 🐾 💚

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