This I Believe

Fern - Scottsdale, Arizona
Entered on June 28, 2007
Age Group: 65+
Themes: gratitude, nature
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Spring is on the Wing … Again

I love this time of year. The earth puts on such a wonderful show of exuberant abundance and beauty, which is such a confirmation of life. My hot pink tulips were a blessed sight during the recent and short-lived rainy weather. Soon the miniature lilies, gardenias and the jasmine bush will be blooming and filling the air with their heady and aromatic scents.

Each day the mallards, geese, blue heron and other waterfowl fly low over my house several times a day to-and-from the nearby lakes. I can hear the familiar honking sound of the geese as the v-formation comes into view.

This is the second year in a row that a quail couple has returned and selected a large flower pot on the patio in which to deposit their eggs. Last year I was delighted as I watched twelve little fluffy puffs of new life either rappel down the asparagus-fern fronds and land in a soft plump on the walkway, or simply say “Geronimo” in quail-speak and bravely bail out. The mother quail was around the corner calling to them and the baby quail did what generations of their ancestors had done and scampered straight to the sound of safety.

This year I checked and found that there were seventeen eggs. I never bothered to find out the gestation period, as I trusted my intuition as to when it would be time.

One morning weeks later I was getting ready to leave for an appointment, and something moved me to double check the flower pot, which I could do by looking out the window. There before my eyes on the brickwork was the whole family … the parents and seventeen newly-hatched dotting-and-darting bundles of life energy.

I was mesmerized by the activity of what I thought was Life Lesson No. 1. The baby quail were in a loose, constantly moving group. When they received their directions from the parents, they quickly moved as one wiggling unit to another section of the patio. Then just as eagerly hurried back for further instructions on how to make it through their first and subsequent days.

When I returned home mid-afternoon they were still there, and it was a delight to watch them until dusk when they finally mastered the six-foot flight to the top of the patio wall and were gone. My delight faded for a moment as I thought of how tiny and eager they were for life’s adventure, and what might await them. Yet, this was quickly replaced with the joy and gratitude I felt for this rare and blessed gift. It allowed me once again to connect up close and personal with nature, which I believe is the true language of our being. I also knew the adults were doing exactly what quail parents have been doing since the dawn of their time on earth, preparing the next generation for yet another spring.