What Lives in My Backyard

Tufted Titmouse (with a snack)

It was a revelation for me to discover that both my gardening and new-found birdwatching hobbies had affected a kind of internal transformation. It is now my belief that the wild creatures—you might call them the “least” among us—show us who we are. That, at the end of the day, we treat ourselves only as well as we treat them. And that spending time observing and learning about nature—even if it’s just what (or who) lives in our own backyards—can bring some of those core attitudes to light, can give us insight into how we treat ourselves and those around us. 

Of course, I’ve only just realized this within the past week or so. Had I known what I was doing at the time, I would have written it all down. Like a journal or a set of field notes. I would have recorded my reactions to certain creatures: those who scare me, those who I, perhaps, over-empathize with, want to “save” or “rescue,” those about whom I make value judgments, as in this creature is “good” or “bad,” and if “bad,” deserves to live or doesn’t deserve to live, whether it’s a threat to me or not, etc. I think this kind of exercise would be tantamount to shadow work. It would give me a real glimpse into my underlying attitudes and most importantly, I think, it would demonstrate for me some of the narratives that dictate my behavior.

Also, I would have started caring for the wild creatures long before I did. They kind of force you to approach them in a non-interfering way, which, to my mind, is an invaluable aspect of self-care. Learning how to allow ourselves to be. And also for respecting the autonomy and individuality of those with whom we form relationships. Nurturing without attempting to dominate or control, etc.

Anyway. The rest of this post is really just an excuse to share some nature photos from my backyard, or thereabouts. Most are birds (in addition to the bird photos I’ve already posted). But there are some other critters and plants in the mix, too. I hope you enjoy them.

Blue Jay

Eastern Bluebird

American Goldfinch

Downy Woodpecker

Red-Shouldered Hawk

Miscellaneous

From the Garden

5 thoughts on “What Lives in My Backyard

    1. Thank you very much. I feel blessed to have so many beautiful birds visiting my yard everyday (and the other critters are pretty great, too). They’re wonderful to watch, though often challenging to photograph. I’m very glad you enjoyed the post, including my personal reflections. I always appreciate your encouraging feedback. It means a lot. 🙂

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  1. A delightful read. I have already seen the Blue Jay, but given that we do not have that bird where I live, I cannot stop looking at its “painted” feathers. Exquisite. Your reflective writing has many interesting layers, which made me think about the many layers of creature sounds I hear in the morning, when I am meditating with the rising sun. I find that I hear more when my eyes are closed. Thank you for sharing your discoveries, both with your inner nature and the gorgeous nature that surrounds you. 💖

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    1. I’ve had bird feeders in the yard for a little over two months, and even though we’ve got plenty of blue jays in the neighborhood, they seem to have only just discovered my feeders. Blue jays often get a bad rap for being loud and aggressive/dominating other birds, and I was hesitant to get a larger feeder to accommodate them when they started coming around, but I am glad I did. They really are no trouble. They’re very smart and a pleasure to watch. I just added a new blue jay photo above (you’ve encouraged me to do so, from yesterday). I may add a separate page dedicated to nature photos going forward, instead of updating individual posts. I thank you for your thoughtful comments on this post. Much of nature’s intrinsic healing properties, I think, lie in its effects on our senses. To close our eyes and listen to birdsong— it’s as if we enter another world. Or to sit and watch birds or other creatures, or even a beautiful landscape, is calming, grounding, meditative in itself, really.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for sharing details about the Blue Jay. As a bird lover, I find this very interesting. I thought about your post this morning, when I was meditating and listening to the many bird sounds. So beautiful. It is also a joy to see the many nests in the trees right now. I will check out your new photo and I love the idea of a separate nature page. Time in nature always renews and uplifts. Unless it is summer in AZ, but that is what cars and planes are for. 😆 Thank you.

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