The mockingbirds sing and display, their aerial ballets worthy of the finest stages across the globe and their diverse songs reminiscent of the finest works of Mozart. The first purple martin arrived yesterday, a vanguard leading the way for many others to follow, and soon they will fill the days with profound beauty. The merlin waded into the crystal river and began its long swim northward, putting behind it this cold season in the south and setting its eyes on love to be found in another place and at another time. The mourning doves pour upon the sunrise their woeful dirge until my eyes water at the sadness of the sound, yet to them it is not sad but joyous, a plaintive call that seeks to warm the heart of another.
Even as more snow is forecast next week, nature prepares her children for the season that is to come. An eclectic celebration of dance and music. The building of nests and the starting of families. The putting on of fine colors and patterns, the best dress available, the finest suit. And her migrating offspring begin their journeys. While many will leave, many more will arrive. Yet it is the farewells which cut us deeply, not the hellos.
So in honor of the endings that now beset us and the beginnings they foretell, I offer this brief series in celebration of the lives with whom I’ve shared a brief moment this winter, the faces that will now pass into memory as new faces take their place. And because I believe no life is complete without reading it, I will include the divine words of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet alongside the beauty of that which even now passes into history.
Farewell to you and the youth I have spent with you.
It was but yesterday we met in a dream.
You have sung to me in my aloneness, and I of your longings have built a tower in the sky.
But now our sleep has fled and our dream is over, and it is no longer dawn.
The noontide is upon us and our half waking has turned to fuller day, and we must part.
If in the twilight of memory we should meet once more, we shall speak again together and you shall sing to me a deeper song.
And if our hands should meet in another dream we shall build another tower in the sky.
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For those looking to fill your weekend not with farewells but with hellos, I turn your attention to these delectable blog carnivals.
Friday Ark #283: Steve ushers critters aboard the ark throughout the weekend, so visit now and visit often. Through Sunday you will find a growing collection of marvels both great and small.
I and the Birds #119: The Cult of Birds: I cannot recommend enough that you visit Laura’s edition of this bird carnival. She is someone I look up to as a writer, a naturalist, a feeler of emotions. Her edition of this celebration of all things winged is the preeminent presentation that should not be missed.
An Inordinate Fondness #1 – Inaugural Issue: A man for whom I have developed a sincere admiration and great fondness, Ted MacRae offers up the inaugural edition of a carnival celebrating the largest group of animals on the planet: beetles. His passion manifests clearly in this festival, and he sets the bar high for future versions that no doubt will struggle to meet this standard.
 Juvenile yellow-rumped warbler (a.k.a. myrtle warbler or Audubon’s warbler; Dendroica coronata)
 Subadult cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum)
 Brown creeper (Certhia americana)
 Mated pair of northern pintails (Anas acuta)
 Song sparrow (Melospiza melodia)
 Ring-billed gull (Larus delawarensis)