If I sit perfectly still
long enough
the Juncos
and Goldfinches return to the feeders
and the leavings on the ground
where the Red-winged Blackbirds have eaten the big pieces.
The bigger birds now
sit fretfully in the tree limbs,
seemingly uncertain about landing again,
then fly to the tree-top and talk to each other
in quick chirps.
I watch a Black-capped Chickadee couple.
They never go to the feeder
at the same time;
they take turns:
one goes for a bite
while the other watches.
Perched on the tube feeder,
she seems to spit out the seeds
that she doesn’t want.
When she gets the one she does want,
she flies off with it.
They seem to more easily
make choices
sitting momentarily in the flat platform feeder.

I sit perfectly still
(no photos today)
and get to look into the tiny, round, clear, black eye
of a Goldfinch perched for a drink
on the water bowl.
I sit perfectly still
and get to see the soft pink belly of the Woodpecker
hanging from the suet feeder.
Meadowlarks, their bright yellow breasts
aglow in the sun,
serenade from atop the Hackberry tree.
I listen blissfully to their sweet, lyrical whistle.
Off in the distance,
I hear a flurry of honking
as Canada Geese and Snow Geese,
probably half a mile away,
shift on a pond.
I think from now on
I will recognize the “Dee-dee-dee-dee”
of the Black-capped Chickadee.
From the barn,
once in awhile,
there comes creaky conversation
from Guinea Hens.
A breeze,
cool in the late-afternoon sun,
stirs the wind chime
into soft song.
It is very quiet.
It is deeply tranquil.
Pacas munch on fresh hay.
Goats sit still
in the sunshine.
A yellow-eyed black cat approaches silently,
then changes her mind
and walks away from the birds.
Maizey, asleep in a wicker chair
beside me on the porch,
Something inside me
gives way.

Every moment spent watching,
listening to,
the natural world
is balm.
Being still, empty and aware in nature
brings answered prayer:
taking me beyond myself.
All this is going on
on the prairie—
the movement,
the song,
the quiet —
all the time.
Cardinal, afire in the golden light,
tells me so:
“Right chere, Right chere, Right chere.”