Highs and Lows

“Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are all miserable.” ~ Voltaire

Today, the kids went to the testing center. This is the beginning of the end to the 2015-2016 school year, and everyone is on target to complete lessons by the end of this week, a full three weeks before their friends. Virtual school definitely has its benefits!

While getting lunch kits and back packs loaded up to go, Angie noticed a small bird perched on one side of the garage. This wasn’t our usual Carolina Wren (who is intent upon building his nest on the pegboard) but an Ovenbird, a spring migrant just passing through. We have no idea how he got into the garage, but we did manage to get him out safely and in quick fashion.

Whenever we have an encounter like that, my heart literally explodes with joy.

After dropping the kids, I hovered around the Sugar Land area to see what I could find by way of birds. I started at Brazos Bend State Park, which was still closed due to recent flooding. On the way back, I took a slow drive near some flooded rice fields where I was sure to see something worth shooting.

As luck would have it…

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle!

Brown-headed Cowbird

Brown-headed Cowbird
Singing as if his life depended upon it.

Redhead

Redhead
Out alone in his field.

Scissortail Flycatcher

Scissortail Flycatcher
Awfully accommodating.

Happiness is hard to muster when a nearby lot — the same place we rescued rabbits a couple of years back — gets stripped of its trees in the course of a few hours. More than twenty leafy giants (mostly pecan, even one gorgeous and old live oak) had been methodically taken down to be hauled away.

Sure, I know that trees aren’t ‘happy;’ they just are. They have no choice, no objection or democratic process to offer them options. When the battle between man and nature is waged, trees in developing urban areas almost always lose out to progress and profit alone.

Another nail salon? House of Worship?
Probably just another concrete empty parking lot.

I guess it’s a good thing I’m an optimist.

My optimism, however, does nothing to help an in-the-way tree, once home and shelter to nameless and inconsequential species. Its life ends quickly and necessarily, traded for the demands of just one singular species: mine.

But life goes on with a smile on my face, even when faced with the incomprehension of it all. At least I didn’t order the carnage, and the trees on my property are revered and safe from others.

Today is the happiest day.

7 thoughts on “Highs and Lows

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