SOLC Day 14: Meditating on Juncos


March 2020 SOLC–Day 14
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At this time of year, they’re here every morning, always the first birds to appear in the garden. In the dim morning light, I see them first as shadows, hopping about on the ground. As the light grows, I watch them fly up to the wisteria arbor and perch. In flight, their hidden white tail feathers flash dramatically.

As is so often true, the coloring of the males is starker, more dramatic. Slate grey on top and white below. The line between grey and white is so clear, it reminds me of darkened tree trunks limned by a windy snowfall. I often take them for granted, these daily visitors, but today I sit and watch. Meditating on juncos.

As I watch, I realize there aren’t as many here today. One junco lingers beneath the platform feeder. It hops about through the pick-up-stick garden debris, then flies away, flashing white. Another lands and then progresses in a meandering path over the brick walkway and into the garden, stopping every so often to peck at the ground. Several swoop in, forage a bit under the feeders, then fly off again.

Now the garden is quiet. Not a single junco in sight. They’ll be heading north soon. Perhaps the migration has already started.


I decide to sit and hope they return, then watch them a bit more–to enjoy them while they’re still here.

How is it that so often we don’t appreciate something until it’s almost gone?