First swallow of spring

Tree Swallow
Tree Swallow. Photo: Patrice Bouchard, Unsplash

On the last day of winter, I saw my first Tree Swallow of the year. It flew beside the James River in the direction of Jamestown Island.

Sociable birds with an iridescent sheen that babble and chatter all day, these swallows sometimes breed in our nestboxes.

Silent winter’s end

Tree swallows dance through the sky

Spring’s symphony begins.

(A haiku)

Cocky Coyotes

Photo: Unsplash (photographer unknown)

Two fully-grown coyotes crossed the road in front of us at 10 AM today before I turned into Jamestown Beach. A patrolman told me he had seen others. The boldness of these sleek canids in shaggy coats the color of dry oak leaves took me by surprise. Their cousins in the mountains are far shier because they are hunted.

Minutes earlier, I disturbed a pair of Red-tailed Hawks feeding on what little remained of a deer carcass in our yard. A kettle of vultures waited patiently nearby.

When a new carcass appears, I assume a road accident victim crawled away to die and attracted scavenging birds to our yard. But coyotes in a pack less than two miles away might have been the primary scavengers or even come here to prey on deer. We are visited by red tooth and claw.

While walking our dogs, Ben and Reg, on the beach, I heard two Great Horned Owls calling to each other in the pinewoods. And the morning’s entertainment finished as a pair of eagles soared acrobatically in the blue sky.

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 wildlife sightings the same morning remind me that Valentine’s Day falls this month.

Tango in the Snow

Photo: Inge Curtis

On Valentine’s Day, I queried an AI bot about the idealistic love that Ancient Greeks called agape and compare it with the romantic notion of love. This is how it replied:

“The main difference between romantic love and agape love is that romantic love is usually based on physical attraction, emotions, and mutual admiration, while agape love is based on selfless giving and unconditional acceptance. Romantic love can change over time, while agape love is unending and unconditional. Romantic love is often focused on two individuals, while agape love is focused on giving to others and showing kindness to all.”

While musing on Valentine’s Day about how big love can be, I applied the adjective cosmic. No, I didn’t mistype it for comic love! Way back in my college days, I read an arresting thought from the cleric-cum-archeologist, Teilhard de Chardin. Can love embrace all nature for all time and pale every other kind of love by comparison? Cosmic love is gobsmacking. When one of my scientific heroes, the immunologist Peter Medawar, ridiculed him as a peddler of mystical nonsense I laid Teilhard’s books aside. Recently, I pulled his books down from the shelf, their pages now brown with age, for fresh reflection.

%d bloggers like this: