As I reluctantly gained consciousness from my slumber this morning I listened to the sounds of the world outside my cracked window. It is fast and finally becoming spring and the outside world is now filled with sounds of many birds as they are all frantically stressing over the coming nesting season and all that comes with the urgency of finding the perfect mate, finding the right nest location and good sources of materials, making the nest, the egg laying, brooding, feeding, and then finally kicking the little beggars out of the nest, migrating, returning, and repetition of said cycle again.
The phoebes are closest to my window as they are building untidy nests of Spanish moss in the crotches of the posts on the carport. A wren is flitting around close by and one never knows where you will find their nests. Last year one nested on the screened back porch in a fake plastic turkey decoy that was laying on a table back there. It was one of the more perfect nest sites I have seen from a wren, safe from dogs and predators, out of the weather and totally ironic to see a bird nesting in a bird.
There was also the faint wafting of the eau de skunk drifting thru the open window, thankfully brief. Crows were screaming obscenities off in the distance and red shouldered hawks were hollering overhead somewhere as well. A number of unrecognized bird noises I could hear too, but chickodees, titmice, cardinals, raucous blue jays, the schizophrenia of the mocking birds, and the "poor sam peabody" song of the white throated sparrows were easily picked out in the cacophony of these avian voices.
My wakeups usually are begun with my German shepherd, Heidi, pacing the floor impatiently until she can stand my slumbering no longer, then finally her long black nose pushes my covers off my face, accompanied with a plaintiff Lassie type call for help cause Timmie fell back in the well again. It is absolutely pointless to fight it at this point, so I get up and let the day begin.
A thermos of fresh brewed coffee also usually awaits me in the kitchen, a sweet gesture from my earlier rising hubby Mark. After the pack has been out for their morning constitutional I let them back in for a yummy bowl of dry dog food. They seem to like it. I do the email, facebook, and whatever catching up with the rest of the world and such on the internet, when its obliged to be up and running, one cup of coffee and I am off to the barn to feed the horses.
This is by far and beyond, the most exciting part of the day for the dogs. Jack, the Australian terrorist, begins the barking chorus signaling to all that the ritual to the barn has begun. So off we go, Heidi by my left knee, Jack, Marley the unconquerable Yorkshire terrorist, and Memphis,the like, totally laid back white lab. To begin our journey there is great barking and running back and forth and neck biting playing by all. Marley makes repeated attacks to the back of my knees as we walk, throwing her full force of her body at one of them, trying, I guess, to knock me down, and sometimes nearly does. Then she runs off to bark at the impatiently waiting hungry horses.
This game involves her running up and down the fence line and them pretending, or maybe not, to want to step on her obnoxious head to shut her yapping up, and them running with her shaking their heads and sometimes kicking and bucking in her general direction. All in good fun of course. Memphis usually picks up a stick and carries it with the procession, wagging her fat otter tail in a zone of blissed contentment that only a Labrador retriever seems to be able to achieve in life.
It is such a noisy energetic ritual, this walking to the barn. Even the mere utterance of the word "barn" can get the whole pack up and animated, ready for action, bodies tense with anticipation, eyes wild, hackles raised, and great high pitched barks. Life sure must be good for a dog to have this level of revelry from such a simple thing as our heading to the barn to feed the horses. Would that we all had something to get that jacked up about in our days. Imagine barking at the top of your lungs and wagging you tail on your way to work each day.
It takes me a good couple of minutes to get every horse fed and there is a ritual pattern that I do this in to keep the peace. The more dominant horses get fed first so they won't try to kill the lesser ones in their efforts to steal the food. Once all have been grained and hayed a gentle sigh of peace falls over all the horses who are munching away, lost in happy places in their tiny brains. The dogs go back to just hanging out now that their job has been finished until next feeding time.
I return to the house and do plan to do a bit of work on current paintings that I have started. Today is once again rainy and cool and staying inside doesn't have the difficulty that a bright day like the other did. Got some errands to run later but with a fresh cup of herbal, so my hand will be steady with the brushes, tea I will get my brushes busy and push some pigments for a while and hope for good results.
It is a nice day, again so far. Bark, bark, wag, wag.