The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
This early-winter light casts long beautiful shadows. In the middle of the day I stand on one side of the yard and my shadow reaches to the other side, making me tall and slim and elegant.
The world of horizontal light causes visual illusions for all creatures. At eight o’clock this morning as the sun was peeking over the big hill, a mourning dove flew into one of the east-facing windows with a terrific thud. I ran over to look, expecting to see a bird lying on the ground, but happily the dove flew off to a perch in the old apple tree. There it remains, trembling and troubled and reassessing its plans for the day. We must hang something up in the window so that in this particular light birds do not try to fly through our house. A few years ago a partridge flew into that same window and fell to the ground, crumpled and still. Efforts to revive it failed for, alas, there is no cure for a broken neck. We carried its beautiful body to the woods and placed it gently on the snow where a fox or coyote might find it.
So we enter another year. The sun comes up, birds flock to the feeder and some fly into the window, the skies are threatening one day and clear baby blue the next. We bring in firewood and carry out ashes, take a walk along the tree line, admire apples clinging determinedly to frail-looking twigs; while in the house the cat sleeps by the stove and dust settles in the corners. Meals are dutifully prepared, dishes washed, fancy Christmas tea towels stowed away till next December…and in a few short hours the sun goes down.
We don’t need anything extraordinary to happen in the New Year. In fact we want things to continue in the same old way with the same things to eat, same cozy bed to sleep in, same smiling faces at the store. We may learn a few new tunes but will mostly play the old ones. Oh, we’ll take a few amazing trips, but will want to come home to our same old friends. Need some excitement? Don’t worry, we’ll have politics and weather, plus life and death (the usual suspects) to keep us on our toes. And we’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice being generous and open to change.
The mourning dove has left its perch in the apple tree. I hope it is all right. When it hit the window it was flying so hard that it left a print of its beak, body and outspread wings on the glass. A star now hangs in the window to reduce further casualties. Meanwhile my long shadow keeps me company throughout this brief day, reaffirming my presence on this lovely earth.
Here’s an Irish blessing for you: May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.
Happy New Year!