Today’s Fantastic Friday post first appeared on Down the Gravel Road in September of 2008. Considering the popularity of a recent listing of ten reasons to watch The Music Man, this article about some very noisy birds in our neighborhood seemed to be a logical choice.
Pick a Little, Talk a Little
Yesterday morning, I was walking along our gravel road at top speed, oblivious to the scenery around me, when the noise from the ditch awakened me from whatever inner thoughts consumed me. The chirping along the fence was deafening.
For a few seconds, I couldn’t see a thing. Then, I noticed the grass waving and saw a bit off fluff pulled from a seed pod. Finally the noisemakers, a small flock of female goldfinches, came into view. Their dusky gold coats so perfectly matched the browning fall grasses, they were barely visible. One by one, their movement and their chirping, gave their positions away. By the time my camera was out of, some of them had flown away, but a few remained.
While I snapped their pictures, I thought of the song from The Music Man, the one when all the town gossips are busy spreading rumors. The music makes them sound like a flock of old bitty hens. That’s exactly what the goldfinches sounded like, scolding and flapping their wings at each other. I half expected Robert Preston and Shirley Jones to march by, followed by the 76 trombones and the rest of the band.
Instead, I saw a sure sign of fall, the goldfinches flocking together as they do at this time of year, stocking up on provisions before they journey south for the winter. What I wouldn’t give to be going with them, I think as I face the prospect of winter.
But if I do that, I won’t be here to welcome them next spring on the day they return. No matter how hard the coming winter will be, the joy I feel when the birds come home melts my aversion to snow. Their return beats Robert Preston, Shirley Jones, the 76 trombones, and the town gossips, hands down. I can hardly wait.