“Friends, I will remember youThink of you
Pray for you
And when another day is through
I’ll still be friends with you.”             — John Denver

An old friend recently resurfaced after a 20 year absence.  Jeff and I are exchanging warm pleasantries and becoming reacquainted through pen and paper.   I am endeavoring to see him in New Mexico before summer turns cold.  The following story is about companions much older than my former college buddy.

There are certain pieces of our world that give us comfort as they connect to our inner core of joy and contentment.  Every year that we live in one home, we become familiar with certain landscape features that catch our eyes.  We grow a sense of place, because yearly appearances turn into a tradition of recognition through a continuum of time.

A wood pile has appeared in the car turn-around spot.  Nothing speaks more of transitions than firewood.

The garden is winding down after producing another bountiful harvest of utterly delicious crops.

Also, a resurrection of wind, a hop-scotch skipping among the clouds.  On today’s breeze, I saw a crow perform a loop-de-loop, an aerial somersault toward the next valley.  Afterwards, on cue, vultures let their kite wings catch the thermals to soar for miles on a single breath of stirred air.

Other splendors come without form: the pitter-patter of something moving in the bushes, invisible grunts from high in the canopy, and brush-whir of a million insect wings.   And the hillsides, filled with warmth, are jungles of silky grass.

Time is a friend of the natural world.  As the planet spins, restoration becomes possible.  The snag that was cut for firewood reappears as a seedling which, if undisturbed, will grow tall.  The clearcut forest heals, live trees become snags.  And dead trees conjure up woodpeckers, the homemakers, and the multitude of species depending upon the chiselers for nest holes.  Unfortunately, for people, our short life span rarely allows the luxury of witnessing complete regeneration after a hard hand damages the land.  Still, we may know places that return to a portion of their functional ecology.  These are the heart-special natural areas that reveal the same cast of friends through the seasons–whether animal or plants–or the return of a familiar wind.

If my buddy from college finds his way to my door, Iwill take him for a long walk and he will see for the first time the treasure of delights I have known about for years and years.  ~

What has come to my attention this sunny, mid-August gusty day?  I’ve noticed how silent the oak woodlands have become.  With courting season long gone, I guess the birds have little reason to sing to the world.