The swoosh of snowmelt through the gutters, the drip, drip onto the front porch, the occasional thump of an ice chunk falling from the roof – these are the magical sounds of March. But there’s another that is even more delightful: the unmistakable oak a lee of the red-winged blackbird.
Though one of our most common birds, it hasn’t been around for months. While we’ve been digging out, de-icing, and donning multiple layers of fleece, it has been wintering in the mild climate of Mexico. Until today.
The first flock has returned, bringing with it a promise of sun and warmth. The days are brighter, mud and grass appear through patches of frost, the air smells earthy. This ordinary bird with the scarlet swash on its wing is an assurance that all is not cold and dark. It is my harbinger of hope.
Hope can feel good, looking forward to calm breezes and sun-dappled strolls through the park. Why stop there? It feels really good to consider a time of cures and peace. But dwelling too much on what might be gets tricky. When I’ve let March lure me into believing that spring is near, it dumps its sleet and freezing rain on the crocuses.
The real trick, I’m learning, isn’t to dwell there but to live right here in the present. That doesn’t mean I give up hope. It is still there. I can watch it, observe it as I would the summer sky, noticing the clouds changing and shifting. But for today, I will open the window, get comfortable in a seated cross-legged pose, and listen. I won’t hear what the red-winged blackbirds might have brought with them. I will simply know that they are here. And that cures me of any cold, dark moments, bringing me sense of peace.