May 24, 2016

Our Loyal Winged Friends

It was the middle of April, the early evening hours of a beautiful Sunday, and the end of the first day of the year warm enough to allow us to work outside. I spent some time both inside, helping my mom file our yearly income taxes and outside, helping my dad and my brother do some garden prep work. My brother pruned our apple tree, my dad cleared our raised beds of the dried plants left over from the fall and prepped them for this year's plantings, while I raked some of the leaves we didn't get to before winter came, to uncover a few bits of green that had already come up underneath and to bring a little colour to our yard.

It was the end of the day. My parents were now both inside, getting dinner ready, and my brother and I were still outside, finishing up our first seed sowing session of the season. We were sprinkling lettuce seeds when we heard a loud noise, of flapping wings, behind us. If I'm being honest, to me it sounded like a bird was rapidly falling to the ground, erratically flapping its wings in a struggle to stay above ground. We turned around quickly to thankfully realize how wrong I was (and, apparently, how little I know about birds) and to see that not one, but two birds had safely landed into the little pond of rain water and melted snow that had formed on top of our covered pool. At a closer look, we realized they weren't just any birds either, but rather the same sweet duck couple that has been visiting us every spring for the last few years. We had completely forgotten about their yearly visit, and once again, it was such a beautiful, unexpected weekend surprise to see them literally landing into our backyard for their fourth consecutive short stay.

I grabbed my iPad right away and started snapping pictures and videos, while the neighbours living in the house behind ours, after hearing the loud noise as well, were lifting their small kids up to see the ducks over the fence and pointing to them. The pictures and videos I took weren't the best, I knew, but I didn't care. I just wanted to have a snapshot, no matter how blurry, of this moment in time, of these shy, beautiful creatures who chose us once again as the family whose yard would serve as a well-deserved stopover in their journey.

Our whole family - quietly, so as not to startle them - gathered around to see them for their quick visit, knowing that once we went inside to have dinner, we'd have to wait another year to get a glimpse of them, as they would already be gone by the time we were finished eating.

I can't say that living in this house, in this neighbourhood, in this town, has been my favourite, but seeing these two beautiful pals each year, however briefly, will be one of my favourite memories of this place once we do move somewhere else.

In the meantime, we hope to see you next year too, sweet friends!

I rediscovered these pictures now, just over a month after taking them, and the story of that beautiful day came rushing back into my mind and pouring out of me, so I wanted to jot it down to help me remember it, with all its beautiful little details, even a long time from now. I learned a while ago - in big part, thanks to this little space of mine here on the Internet - that the beauty of life is in all the little things, and I haven't done a great job of stopping to notice and take them in lately, so I think it's time to change that.

Tell me, what little things have made your life beautiful lately?

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