Swirling Patterns of Blackbirds, Posing, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Inside: Blackbirds’ annual visit on their way south, a fall photo shoot country style, and the people you meet. 

Swirling patterns of blackbirds. Blackbirds flying south.
Blackbirds singing in the middle of the day. . . (Sorry Paul M.)

Blackbirds’ Annual Visit on Their Way South

Every November, like clockwork, thousands and thousands of blackbirds stop by our farm on their way south. It has always happened this way, large flocks of birds diving, dipping, swirling in flight like a well choreographed dance. It’s remarkable to watch, if you take the time to pay attention. They don’t fly into each other, and rarely do they push or prod, so focused on their feeding task.

Upon observing them, two things come to mind: Paul McCartney singing “Blackbird” and the scripture Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.” Yes, I know, the two make an odd pairing, but songs pop into your head without much warning. Actually, so do scriptures, thankfully. The point of this is that while much in life is chaotic, here is an audacious reminder of God’s goodness, His provision. Those birds take the same pattern every year, landing in just-harvested corn and soybean fields. Kernels of corn and beans that didn’t make it into the combine or spilled off the top of the grain truck offer fine dining to hungry, traveling birds. There is something so simple, yet mysterious in it. Something beautiful in this little migration miracle.

Come March, I’ll be watching for them. This time northern bound.

A Fall Photo Shoot, Country Style

Fall leaves photo.
Obstinate in orange . . . or when your face hurts from smiling.

Take a young woman with camera savvy (Emily), a patient woman carrying equipment (Mom), two dogs (one of them eager), an old stud horse, and me. The mission? Fall photos. After scouting around the farm for the best possible place to shoot, we decided a line of trees in a fence row in the horse pasture would work best. With the sun quickly setting we carefully tiptoed through the grass, avoiding horse piles, and settled on a spot. Honey, Mom’s lab, followed, and Spunk, my cousin’s blue heeler dog ran from his house to see what we were up to. Mooner, the horse, watched from a distance between nibbles. In the remaining light Emily instructed me in how to stand and had me laughing because it helps the smiling. I tend to be a blinker, and I’m not the easiest person to pose, but Emily has a knack for getting good pictures of me when few people can.

The result? Next day I felt tired and sore like I’d been working out at the gym. Why any woman would want to spend long days being photographed is beyond me. But we got some decent photos out of the experience. And I managed to keep my boots clean.

The People You Meet

As we were leaving church Saturday night, someone said hi to Mike and called me Emily. Okay, it was fairly dark in the hallway, and on second glance he said, “You’re not Emily, but you look like her. You must be ‘Mom’.” So Mike introduced me to a guy named Darrel, and in a conversation that lasted maybe two minutes, he’d managed to compliment Mike and me, wish us a happy Thanksgiving, and tell us to have blessed week.

While that might sound like many conversations in many churches across this great nation of ours, what stuck with me was how Darrel’s words made my day so much brighter. Encouraging people are sorely needed in this world, and whether he knew it or not, he inspired me to do that for others. Since then I’ve found myself sowing little seeds of kind words to people I meet.

Kind words. It’s not hard to do, and you might just be the bright spot in someone else’s day. How cool is that?

Blackbirds flying south. Blackbirds in the fall.
View outside my window.

What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Tell us about it in the comments.

Related posts:

Open Window, Food Shoot, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Golden Beans, Whacked-out Weather, and Other News Fresh From the Farm

Backyard Bird Feeding 101

Best Time of the Day



2 Responses

  1. Deborah A. Bauer

    Amy, I love the things you write about. You show the country life in all its beauty. Please keep writing!! The world needs what you have. I love you!!!

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