By Diane Lockspeiser

“Once upon a time… there was

the simple understanding that

to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk

was to heal the world with joy.

The birds still remember

what we have forgotten,

that the world is meant

to be celebrated.”

– Terry Tempest Williams


“My” Robin sits atop the tallest tree in the yard at dawn and sounds off like a tiny, melodic rooster.  Soon after, in the chicken coop, one of the chickens tries to crow.  She has started doing this ever since the group of young chickens were allowed out of their contained area.  They had gotten too big to keep in there, every day becoming closer to full grown.  Sometime in July they will start to lay eggs.

In my experience, that is when the older chickens will accept them as part of the flock.  Until then, the dominant chicken of the literal “pecking order” will try to take on the role of rooster, in this case even attempting to crow as well as chasing the younger ones away from the other chickens and from the feed.  Fortunately, the youth are now big and fast enough not to get hurt, and stealthy enough to get to the feed when their elders aren’t looking.  The gentler of the older ones already let them be as they will eat side by side when the more aggressive chickens aren’t around.

I took a stroll one morning on the path we have cut through the meadow and was delighted to see bright yellow birds frolicking, too far away for me to tell what they were without binoculars. I am hoping they are goldfinches, one of my favorites.  I really need to start carrying binoculars with me on my walks.

Also to my delight, “my” turkeys are evidently still around after all.  We have occasionally seen them strolling across the lawn again.  The chickadees in the birdhouse have moved out.  Almost immediately, it was occupied by other tiny birds that I think are house wrens, judging by their song.  One afternoon, I heard an old familiar song that I hadn’t heard since my days on Long Island when we had a pair of cardinals who frequented the giant holly bush that was outside our window. Sure enough, there was a pair of them checking this place out.  I guess we didn’t meet their criteria, for I haven’t seen nor heard them since.

The music of the birds is often supplemented by Steve practicing piano.  Before we had the front porch gated off, the chickens would often line up along the glass door for the “concert.”  One day, I heard some odd piano notes and discovered that Steve had left the front door open.  One of our feisty young chickens had come into the house and was running across the keys of the piano, making her own music!~