Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wild Air

I lay in bed last night listening to the gentle pitter-patter of rain outside my bedroom door. The soothing sound relaxed me after a busy day of holiday preparations. I settled snugly into my bed beneath a downy quilt when suddenly I snapped to attention. A sound like a rushing freight train washed over the house. The flag across the wash started snapping and flapping. The metal pulley clanged against the flagpole. The storm front was moving through.

All night long the wind lashed the house. Outside my poor mesquite tree whipped in the wind. Rain pounded down leaving a puddle in the middle of the yard. This morning as the sun rose in stormy skies the wind is still gusting. Tattered clouds scud across the sky dome. The sun rising behind Mt. Fagan gilded the cloud edges gold. Sunbeams stream out between a rift in the clouds, then disappear behind the wooly blanket once again.

In the brief rift the sunlight washes over the desert. Palo Verde trees shimmer in the dramatic storm lighting. Their winter branches toss in the gusting wind. Dark storm clouds to the north provide a charcoal backdrop to the green branches and trunk. Water lies in puddles on the street and in the desert. I feel the wildness in me. I want to run like the wind and toss my cares into the sky. I want to feel the freedom of a bird as it takes flight. I want to be part of this earth, part of this place. I want to be a wild thing.

At home again as I prepare my breakfast the birds have arrived in droves. All my feeders are covered with birds. The ground beneath is thick with them. The hummingbird feeders are being visited regularly. I cracked the window to let in the fresh, wild air. I see a raven flying towards the house. As the black shape approaches the window it flies over the rooftop so close that I hear the rush of wind through its wings.

As I sit here and write the storm clouds have thickened to a solid gray blanket once again. It looks as if we could be in for more rain today. I hear a squeaky squawk and, glancing out the den window, I see a flicker hanging from the wire cage surrounding the bird feeder. It reaches its long beak in through the wires extracting safflower seeds from the mix. I watch as each white seed slides down the pointed beak. The spotted breast of the flicker peeks out between its wings and legs as it clutches the wires. A chorus of House Finches watch as the flicker scarfs their food. It doesn’t stay long and soon flies off to the desert once again.

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