My cat Zuzu and I just spent a contemplative ten minutes watching a bird darting about the branches of the camellia bushes that grow just outside my dining room window. It was a spur of the moment activity that was fun and diverting for both of us. After the bird flew on her way, I spent another twenty minutes leafing through the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America trying to peg just who our visitor was. Despite my penchant for naming novels after birds, I’m nowhere near an expert. I’ve decided this guy (or gal) was probably a warbler–judging from its size, body shape and beak, but it would have to be a young one since its coat is still rather drab. I’ve just learned from Sibley that warblers’ feathers don’t take on a bright yellow hue until at least their second year.

If you are blessed with the time to allow yourself to watch and wonder at the birds in your back yard, I highly recommend it. It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, as you no doubt have noticed, and I must confess I’ve been too distracted to do much writing. It’s good, during such “interesting” times, to focus on the here and now, washing the dishes, dusting the shelves, petting your dog and cat. It seems better days are ahead! Give up the doom-scrolling and trust that this is so!

I channeled a bit of energy into cleaning out my summer garden and putting in some festive color for the cooler weather to come. (See photo above.) As you can see, I’ve invited a few non-native birds to spend the winter with us here, and they have graciously accepted. Soon I expect we will again be a land that invites seekers from all over the globe to gift us with their presence.

I may be up and running again next week, or I may take a few weeks off. I’ll keep you posted. All the best!

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