The first thing I do every morning, even though it is still dark when I wake up, is to go outside and take a walk around our little woods and start counting the birds and other forms of wildlife that make up my daily blessings. My eyes are usually still blurred with sleep and that, combined with the darkness of early morning, makes it difficult to see what is out and about that early, but I can distinguish some things from their sound, alone. The catbirds and cardinals and titmice are always out early, as well as the Carolina wrens. If I hear something scampering through the fallen leaves, it is usually a raccoon or possum hurrying back to wherever it is they hide during the day.
I continue walking and by the second or third trip around my yard, it is light enough to see the different bird species. I check on the caterpillars in the butterfly garden and see if the visiting raccoons left me any blueberries on our bushes and whether the birdbaths need to be refilled. Once I see and hear the first visit of the hummingbirds each morning I go inside to get on with my day.
This is my morning ritual. It always starts my day off with such a wonderful sense of peace and gratitude and it helps to remind me of the wonderful, almost spiritual benefits of having a wildlife friendly landscape.
I think I have a somewhat unique relationship with the critters in my little habitat. But it’s a little too comfortable for some people. They don’t understand why I’m not afraid of the huge barred owls or the hawks or the bobcat that visit our property. And I think it is because they seem to have no fear of me.
The hummingbirds flutter right around my head when I need to be reminded to fill their feeders and the gray squirrels often sit right on my windowsill watching me as I write. The bobcats and owls pay me little more than just a passing glance.
Life goes on around me every day…babies are born, families grow, and new generations soon follow in the steps of their doting parents.
Does this sound like something out of a children’s fairy tale? It does to me. It’s the fairy tale that I always imagined when I was a child and I just can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am that I get to live it every day.
So no, I don’t actually COUNT my blessings, when I am wandering around enjoying all of the wonders of nature around me. Mostly I think about how much I genuinely love nature and how magical it feels when so many elements of nature are so comfortable around me, its almost like they love me back.