Small Satisfactions

IMG_1634The pond is blustery this morning, skittishly turning from blue to brown as the wind gusts across it. I couldn’t stay inside. So I put on my rubber boots (the easiest things to grab) with no socks (takes too much time to put on socks) and tightened the belt of my baby blue velour bathrobe with the soot stains on the sleeves from building a fire in the woodstove chilly mornings. I tucked my raggedy sweatpants into the boots, arranged my Lanz of Salzburg flannel nightgown over them, remembered to take the binoculars and stepped out. It was quite the look, I’m sure. Especially when I remembered that I had slept in my blue topaz earrings, so they were dangling coquettishly.

As I tromped over to the pond grate to clean it—a daily activity—a new birdcall gave me pause and I stopped to locate it. I keep a bird journal and each year I get excited when the migrants show up. I know this because when I look back on earlier years to see when, for instance, the fox sparrow has arrived, it has the same exclamation point next to it that I put on this year. I located the singing bird with the binoculars, trying to keep it in my sights as it danced along the spruce branches—no mean feat, especially since I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet.

I looked for markers to identify it, but it was unremarkable—a buff colored little thing with a wing bar (but not a goldfinch.) Then I saw the glimmer of deep red—just a dot, really—on the top of its head. Ah ha! A ruby-crowned kinglet! I made my way back to the house, wrote ruby crowned kinglet (!) in my bird journal and then sat down next to the cheery wood stove and took a first sip of hot coffee.



10 thoughts on “Small Satisfactions

  1. What a marvelous little morning break for me (this post). I truly got away from my work for a moment.
    Nice ensemble. Ralda, my heroine in “Atonement, Tennessee” might have come up with something very similar. The earrings were the perfect touch. 

  2. OMG you still own a Lanz nightgown??!
    I am sending this post along to Louis who will love the bird musings.
    Xx to you

    Antoinette Russell
    Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
    Office: 617-672-8231 Cell: 617-645-5624

  3. Dear Deb
    My father – age 91 – lives in Annisquam – he moved there from Chester County Pa about 7 years ago. First he moved into an assisted living place, then about three years ago he moved himself OUT and got a small house. He said “I went there to die and since I didn’t die the place was driving me crazy – everybody too slow, etc.” When I had lunch with him in early March he said he thought his running days were behind him – that he thinks he took his last run around Thanksgiving time. All of which is to say he is plenty game – good mind/good body, etc.

    Not only did I enjoy Ms P’s excellent phrasing, but found a near unbelievable coincidence. 3 days ago I gave up on “Legal but Lethal”; a description of how big co’s. in alcohol & tobacco etc. are legally destroying millions of lives world wide. It’s a good expose, but I could only skim a bit & then quit. I then said to myself, “Self you need to read a classic to stabilize your inner being” Accordingly I got a famous book I’d never read – -“To Kill a Mockingbird” & of course I’ve been enthralled since first page. What are odds of this happening ??? xoxo P.

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