Friday, January 9, 2015

Beauty in winter

I will admit that this winter has seemed the longest ever.  I really don't mean to be a bummer, and please don't think that I will be complaining throughout this post - that's not what this is!

Back to what I was saying.  Someone said that this past December was the cloudiest December in 10 years.  It better have been, because it was.

Winter gets to me sometimes.  I've gotten to where I crave the sunshine and the warmness - although not too warm, definitely not hot, somewhere between 70 and 85 degrees would be fine.  It just so happens that where we live, that's a rare occurrence.  It's usually one extreme or the other.  And those extremes can happen in the same week.

Oh my goodness.  I'm complaining, aren't I?  Sorry, I'm done.

Anyway, I had to get out the other day, even though it was cloudy and so very cold, and find something...beautiful.

Here's what I came up with.  Let me rephrase that:  Here's what I was shown.

Just walking around our block reminded me of the beautiful countryside where we live.  I'm sure I would come to appreciate living in flat lands if I had to live there, but I'm glad I do not.  I love the trees, the forests, the hills, the mountains.  Ignore the dreariness, focus on the lovely landscape.

Here's a closeup.  This time ignore the deadness, and focus on the green.

More green.  Notice how it's surrounded by what seems lifeless.  But there's always light in the midst of the darkness.

Oh, the birds.  I've honestly never noticed how many birds stick around during the winter.  Where have I been?  I thought they left us and flew further south.  I haven't paid attention until now.  Life is abounding.

Jared gave me a bird feeder for Christmas and he just put it up a few days ago.  I've been doing a lot of bird watching in our backyard and trying to get some decent pictures through the window.

I think this is a red house finch (a thank you to a helpful reader).  By the way, I know nothing about birds.  I most likely could not point out a robin to anyone.  I do know what a cardinal looks like, however, ha.  I have a tree identification book and a wildflower one, but no bird book (yet, I've got some Christmas money to use!), so I've had to rely on google.

I actually looked this one up in Izzy's little 10-page kiddie bird book.  It's a tufted titmouse.

A fat little junco (thank you, google).  There are a ton of these in our backyard everyday.

Goodness, look at how fat these birds are!  This is a white-throated sparrow, I believe.  Notice all of these birds are in the same tree, facing the same way - towards the feeder.

Next up is a woodpecker.  And now that I've googled "woodpecker with red mohawk," I know that it's a pileated woodpecker.  This is in a tree in the neighboring lot.

Another woodpecker, this time at our bird feeder.  Please excuse the terrible picture - it was taken from inside and I can never get good light from here.  I think this one is just called a red-headed woodpecker.

I finally got a picture the other day of the third woodpecker that I've seen in our neck of the woods.  This is a red-bellied woodpecker who hangs out in the abandoned lot next door as well.

Just in watching the few birds around our house, one can see so much beauty and detail and diversity.  These birds - these common, seemingly-insignificant birds - are just plain beautiful and they are a delight to watch.  And they are thriving (especially now with us providing them food) despite the bleakness.  God provides for them and He will provide for us.  We must believe it.

So even though the winter sometimes feels dreary, I know there's beauty in this world and joy to be found.  What would we do without all these marvelous creatures?

What have you been noticing this winter?


  1. I, too, am not a fan of winter (putting it mildly) and I feel like all I do all winter is complain about the cold. :/ Trying to be better about that! What state are you in?

    I am SO JEALOUS that you had a Pileated Woodpecker in your yard! :) And I finally figured out what one of the cute little birds are (that I didn't get a picture of) in our backyard--a Junco! They are so adorable! Do you have a lot of them?

    Also? Red headed woodpecker was what kids called me in elementary school. (I have red hair.) I've been scarred for life. KIDDING! :)

    1. I have disliked this winter more than any other I think - probably because last year was when I first came across Charlotte Mason and, as a result, we spent so much time outside and it grew on me I guess! We're in Arkansas - deadly humid summers and freezing winters, and it seems the summers and winters are closing in on the fall and spring. Where is your family?

      We have a ton of juncos in our backyard everyday. They're more plentiful than any of the other birds. I ever knew what they were until I googled them. Most of them are fat and oh so cute!

      I'm sure being called a woodpecker was traumatic as a kid, but that's funny :) Thanks for reading!

  2. I think your red finch is actually a house finch. :)

    Dana (from AO forum)

    1. Thank you, Dana. This is why I need a bird book and helpful people to correct me, ha.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Wow, amazing birds! We have the juncos and we've seen pileated woodpeckers, but the others were new to me. Where do you live? I had to laugh about your winter blues... Here on PEI our winter never ends until about March, and even then it hangs on (we had more snow in April last year than through the whole winter...). I do get a bit cranky about it by April, to be honest. Today we have windchills of -24 (yes, Farenheit), but it's supposed to go up to 36 tomorrow. Crazy yo-yo weather. :)

    1. Oh my goodness, -24? There's no way I could get out in that - I can barely get out in 30 degree weather. We're in Arkansas. We've actually had some lovely weather here lately. It's been in the upper 50s. After a few weeks of freezing temps it suddenly climbed to the 50s, and we are taking advantage!