Communing With Nature
I spent an hour sunbathing today.
Of course, I wasn’t really sunbathing. I’ve always been rather careful about my skin, since, although I am a natural brunette (not any more, but, you know…), I am also naturally pretty pale. But I was treated a while back for a keratosis (precancerous skin lesion) on the bridge of my nose, and I have a sweet, smart young friend undergoing treatment right now for a more serious skin condition. So please – be careful, wear sunscreen, and see a doctor right away for anything that doesn’t seem right. (That’s the end of seriousness for today… but don’t forget, okay?)
So I was enjoying a warm sunny day slathered in SPF. Still, though, I call it sunbathing, since I was enjoying the sun and I was also doing what could be termed ‘practicing’ in case I should ever have another opportunity to visit a clothing-optional beach.
I was reading on my Kindle. Originally, I had big doubts about whether I would like Kindle-reading. I love physical books. Paper and Print. But to my surprise, I also love my Kindle. All those books in one little package. And I can read it clearly even in the bright sun. I do WISH someone (Are you listening, Amazon?) would pay me for endorsements. Then I would REALLY love my Kindle.
It was perfectly quiet, and I guess because I was so still and ‘au naturel’, Nature decided to pay me a visit.
First was a bird. A medium size bird, medium brown. I’ve just checked Sibley’s Field Guide to Birds, but as usual, Sibley is no help unless you already know what you’re looking for. I can eliminate ducks and hawks and turkeys – and non-brown birds like cardinals and bluejays, but everybody else looks pretty much the same. I guess he could have been some kind of thrush, but I found a bird that’s brightly colored in maturity but brown in youth. A dickcissel. It’s mostly found on prairies, and I live in New England, but with a fabulous name like that, how can I NOT think it was a dickcissel?
So, Dick flutters right over and lands on the back of a chair near me. As a matter of fact, I sat in that very chair while having coffee in the morning. But I moved pretty quickly when I noticed that hornets were flying in and out of the joint between the seat and the driver’s side leg.
Dick regarded me with a casual disinterest.
I wanted to address him in his own language so I gave him a little whistle. I’m not much of a whistler.
Dick answered back in his own language. He was not much of a whistler either. What he said was “tschik…tschik’ – which is totally consistent with a dickcissel, by the way.
I decided to try English. I told him that he wasn’t all that bad looking, and by the way, there were hornets in that chair. “Hornets are delicious,” I said.
Dick said, “tschik, tschik,” which in this case I believe meant, “Nice try.” He lifted his tail, plopped out a little poop, and flew off.
Proving that he was an immature dickcissel.
I returned to my book.
Not five minutes later a chubby chipmunk came by.
I think his name was Phillip. He certainly looked like chubby Phillip who sat next to me in third grade.
Chipmunks have only two speeds. Zippy fast or dead stop. So Phillip zipped by my feet and halted.
I tried his language. “Tschik, tschik,” I said. But apparently that was Dick’s vocabulary, not Phillip’s.
English is so much better for communing with nature. Human beings don’t speak any other Species, but all animals understand English. Just watch any cartoon on Saturday morning. Chipmunks, birds, dinosaurs – they are all bilingual. It’s like English is their first language or something.
“Hi there,” I said. “I see you partook of the feast of sunflower seeds and other yummy things we put out this winter.”
Phillip stood on his hind legs and sneered at me. He sneered. A chipmunk sneer.
I didn’t need a chipmunk translator to get his drift.
But I’ll translate for you.
Who are you kidding? The feast WE put out this winter? Your husband put out all the goodies. The only thing YOU put out was that white-and-black cat, which is like putting Godzilla into Chipmunk Tokyo. Just because your name is on the mailbox doesn’t mean you can take credit for the snacks. I may be a chipmunk but I’m not claiming I sang “Christmas Don’t Be Late.”
He gave me the finger with his tail, so to speak, and zipped off.
I’m sure he was just cranky because I mentioned his weight.