Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In The Light

There are a number of definitions and usages for the word Light in the English language. It is a verb, adverb, noun, adjective and is frequently mentioned in reference to spiritual awareness. For the purpose of this post, I would say that light and the lack of light influenced both my thoughts and actions.

I looked out the picture window of my living room at 6:30am and determined that it was going to be one of those gray, drab, days. It wasn't raining but a light mist stayed suspended in the air throughout the morning. One of the things I enjoy most about the birding experience is enjoying the visual beauty of the birds. They are like living works of art set in a natural landscape and you get the added enjoyment of being able to observe their behavior as well. Of course the quality of lighting really plays an important role in what we see. On cloudy , gray days we just aren't able to see the color and detail that we can on a clear, sunny day. Having considered all this, I just wasn't in the mood to do any birding. I considered chasing after something that might have showed up on the rare bird report or just going back to bed for some much needed rest. I know that it is vital for me to spend time outdoors on the weekend so I settled on the idea of exploring a new trail in the area. I checked in my Eastern version of The Connecticut Walk Book and found a listing for a portion of the Shenipsit Trail off of Birch Mountain Road in Glastonbury.

There didn't seem to be many birds around. I did enjoy listening to the vocalizations of a large flock of European Starlings. With all the strange noises they make, it does seem to me that there is a lot of communication going on between these birds. I also saw another flock of about 30 Pine Siskins but they appeared as not much more than dark silhouettes in the top of a tree. I will say that I enjoyed looking at some of the rock formations and glacial boulders along the trail. The lack of light didn't diminish their appearance. My mind wanders on nearly birdless walks like these. I thought about all the unnecessary purchases that I made during the days when the economy was more robust (about eight years ago). I wish that I could return some of that unneeded junk and deposit the money back into a bank account. At least nature will always be there for us to enjoy free of charge regardless of what the economy is doing. Then I went on to consider the fact that when we're looking at stars, we are looking at light from years ago. I guess the same would hold true with objects that we see here on earth. It must take time, no matter how minuscule, for the light reflected off of an object to travel to our eyes. When we move forward, are we looking into the past or walking into the future? If I could empty the junk in my mind onto the trails that I walk, there would be no room for hikers.
I saw this sign on my way out. It seemed to put things in perspective for the day.
Sunday was the opposite of Saturday. It was all sun and no clouds. I made a visit to Dead Man's Swamp in Cromwell which is located between Main Street and the Connecticut River. There was no need to spend time thinking on a day like this. All I did was walk about the fields enjoying the birds and scenery. There were hundreds of sparrows in the field including White-throated, Swamp, Savannah, and my first Fox Sparrow of the Fall. Other species included Northern Flicker, Pine Siskins, Northern Harrier, 4 Red-tailed Hawks, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren, Belted kingfisher, and Brown Creeper.
On this day, even commonly seen species were pleasant to look at. I watched Canada Geese pass overhead as the sun reflected off of their wings.
American Goldfinches, even lacking their brilliant summer plumage, had me captivated. I must now end this post abruptly because the Library is closing. This post will probably contain plenty of errors since I had to rush through it. I can't wait to get my own computer back.
click to play
Here is a video of a Brown Creeper creeping up a tree. They have a wonderful song if you happen to catch them at the right time of year. Most of the time they make this tiny ringing sound that you can hear quite well on this video. It is this sound that usually draws my attention to Brown Creepers before I actually see them.
And if you feel that you can't go on
And your will's sinkin' low
Just believe and you can't go wrong
In the light you will find the road
You will find the road -
-Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin


Dawn Fine said...

Nice post...loved the creeper video...thanks..

Jayne said...

Sometimes, it's good to just walk and think. What a wonderful plaque left as a tribute to someone who apparently also loved to walk and soak in the beauty. Glad you did get one sunny day to see lots of your friends. :c)

RuthieJ said...

I really liked your brown creeper video too Larry. I've never been quick enough to even capture a photo of one.
Thanks for making the extra effort to get to the library and do this post for us. I hope you find a new home computer soon--I know I would be lost without mine at home too.

Mary said...

Great video of the little creeping critter.

Good post, Larry. Sometimes it's good to sit and reflect on what's really important. Thanks for making the effort to stay in touch and keeping us informed about your computer.


Birdinggirl said...

Very cool footage Larry. I have yet to get a good picture of a Brown Creeper- they are fun to watch!

Larry said...

dawn-Thanks-Glad you liked the creeper video.I thought it came out pretty good.

Jayne-I thought the same thing. Even though I didn't know Mike,I can appreciate the fact that he must have enjoyed nature.

Ruthiej-I should have my old computer back fixed by Thursday evening but I won't believe it's fixed until I see for myself.

Mary-Thanks-yes-it has been a bit of an effort trying to get posts done in the library.It's really difficult when you start to get going on it and then get cut off right in the middle.

BirdingGirl-It is hard to get decent photos of Brown Creepers with regular auto cameras.They blend in with the tree bark so well.I wish that they would land on White Birch trees!

To all that read this post-Sorry about all the obvious errors that were in this post.I had a chance to clean it up a little tonight now that I've had a chance to actually read what I wrote.

Ruth said...

I haven't seen a Brown Creeper this year which is unusual, but they do blend in well to bark. The Sunday skies were brilliant.

MojoMan said...

Great post, Larry! I often have the same kind of thoughts when spending time in the woods, and it's true that the quality of the light is so important to the way were perceive things there.

Larry said...

Ruth-Go find that brown Creeper Ruth! A year without a Brown Creeper is like a?

Mojoman-That's pretty scary that's someone's walking through the woods having thoughts like mine.Light really does have a profound effect on the way we perceive things.

Lana Gramlich said...

Those photos are so reminiscent of scenes from the Niagara Escarpment it's not even funny!

Einstein's Brain said...

I love the finch!

Einstein's Brain said...

I like that finch!

Larry said...

Lana-Maybe that's where I was and didn't even know it.

Christine-It is a nice finch isn't it.