[Tweeters] From the Fill

Connie Sidles constancesidles at gmail.com
Sat Jul 19 05:54:23 PDT 2014

Hey tweets, the Fill continues to be very quiet these days. A lot of the ducks have gone into seclusion while they molt, and the remaining ones are either hard to see or consciously hiding, as was the mother Wood Duck with her four (or possibly five) babies screened by tall water lilies near the Turtle Logs. The juvenile Brown-headed Cowbirds are out and about, not that I'm glad to see how well they've done. The goldfinches have begun to lose their bright gold, and the return of kettles of Mew Gulls announces that fall is on the way, thank goodness.

In the absence of hordes of birds, I turn my attention to the people who frequent the Fill, a real community of folks who say hello to all they meet, exchange news of the day, and talk about (what else?) the weather. Like most true communities, you don't always get to choose who belongs, and we have our share of curmudgeons and scoflaws. In my most positive frame of mind, they exist to be cozened into cheerfulness or chivvied into compliance with the rules that make it possible for us to coexist with wild nature in the heart of a big city. On days when I am feeling less charitable, I retreat to Main Pond, set up my camp stool and try to let my spirit float peacefully along with the sleeping Gadwalls, whose bills are tucked into their backs and who rock gently in the wavelets that dance across the water's surface in the light breeze.

The people remind me that birding is a very human activity - the birds don't care whether we watch them or not. If fact, if they had their druthers, probably not. Thus, birding is a human construct, a cultural creation. Unlike many another cultural artifact, though, it is intimately tied to nature and the wild planet that sustains all life.

Here is a poem for you today:

Most people see a mean old man
hunching his way on the Loop Trail.
I see courage to set one foot after the next,
bravery bent but not bowed.

- Connie, Seattle

constancesidles at gmail.com

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