Snow Buntings to the Rescue

Yesterday was a dark day of cold, pelting rain. The farm driveway and barnyard were greasy slop. There was a setback on the garage — something done without consulting me, which would now have to be ripped out and replaced. More materials and labor wasted. I was filled with rage and despair. I just don’t have any more patience for thoughtless mistakes! And there is no more money! I need this project to be over! I was so upset in the moment that I decided to walk in the light rain.

I swung out in the field, squelching and walking fast, my mind fastened furiously on the problem. A flock of birds flew up, circled, and came back down. I stopped dead. I’d never seen those birds before.

I peered through the drizzle, trying to see their markings. I’m a devoted but truly terrible birder. My visual memory is rotten. To make up for this I’ve learned to pick out all the identifying marks and repeat them out loud.

So there I was, a strange figure in damp muddy coveralls, standing alone in a field in the rain, muttering to myself.

At home I pored over my Sibley’s. Aha! Snow buntings in non-breeding plumage!  Attracted to “barren places”!  Even the latter descriptor of my farm inexplicably cheered me up.

Last night I told DH about the frustrating garage setback and how the snow buntings — a new bird! — had arrived just in time to rescue my mood.

“Snow buntings,” he mused thoughtfully. “I’m not sure I know them.”

I had to laugh. DH would not recognize a chickadee if it landed on his nose. I patted his arm.

Thank you, God.


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