Friday, February 26, 2021

Daily blessings are the true valentines of our lives

by VALLE NOVAK Contributing Writer
| February 14, 2021 1:00 AM

Most of us who are parents would agree that our favorite valentines are our children. I’m no exception, and Paul, Diane, Grant, Shelley, Keith and Olivia (along with a long line of progeny) are my six all-time winners of the Big Red Heart. Friends come next, and then the love list follows with animate and inanimate subjects/objects.

For me, my four resident cats, followed by a truly fine bottle of great champagne is high up there — (I don’t do well with chocolates!) — and a day of pinochle or Scrabble with my two close-at-hand daughters. I used to love dining out, and maybe I’ll last through the COVID-19 spell long enough to enjoy a few more restaurant visits.

However, every day is Valentine’s Day when you’re a bird-feeder! When I step out around 6:30 a.m. — arms laden with containers of black oil sunflower seeds and wild bird mix, I’m greeted on even the coldest nastiest day with an enthusiastic gathering of “snowbirds!”

I broadcast handfuls in several feeding areas, some spacious open ground, some with tree cover — and by the time I return to the porch to scatter the remainder on the deck, a group of song sparrows is already waiting, barely moving away from my feet as I sprinkle the much-needed winter sustenance for their “daily bread.” I have a huge flock of them, at least 100; out in the yard, all feeding together, it’s a moving mass of softness — pecking, hopping, often suddenly swooping skyward en masse from some scare, with almost instant return.

Next I toss out the peanuts for the waiting Stellars’ Jays — big, noisy, and oh, so beautiful! They share (because they must) with the nuthatches and chickadees, who while eating the sunflower seeds, still enjoy digging into a peanut from time to time. What a fun thing to watch!

Surrounded by so much sweet, feathery beauty and total trust — can anyone say this is not a valentine? Anytime I go out onto the porch — for firewood or other chores — the birds simply make way for my feet — and the air-bound fly around me as though I were not there. Some swoop closely — looking me over — greeting me perhaps? What a gift! No matter what the weather, my heart is light and filled with joy every morning and through the day with the acceptance of these precious creatures. They are true living Valentines — just as our pets are — innocently following the credo of Love (which really does make the world go ‘round!) Happy St. Valentine’s Day!


(Photo by VALLE NOVAK)

Alpha big brother Tonio Diego Bandito, basks in arms of his smaller (but much softer) twin, Palemoon Longtail.


Valle Novak