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A Woman's Journal


The Backyard on a Spring Morning

By Maggie Turner

Friday, March 24, 2000

The Backyard on a Spring Morning

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Trees and Blue SkyEngines race and roar, the hum of tires whirling on pavement at a breathless speed drones on in the background. Above the sounds of modern mobility, the call of a blue jay pierces the air, the caws of a crow drift down from a treetop. A train whistles in the distance. If one really concentrates on the birds the voices of many can be heard. A small plane flies overhead, its chortling engine demanding attention. Occasionally the wind strengthens and can be heard making its way through the maze of bare tree branches. An ambulance urgently sounds an alarm as it winds through traffic miles away. One must concentrate to distinguish the sounds of nature here. The steady roar of technology numbs the senses to less aggressive sounds.

The rays of the sun seem to reach the yard unaffected. I say seem because I have no direct means of comparing the quality of sunlight here with what it would have been before human industrialization. Was sunlight brighter then, were skies bluer?

A blue jay perches himself in the tree branches above my head and scolds. The harsh call of the blue jay is my favorite sound. As a child, the room where I slept had a window that opened into the woods. Throughout the spring, summer and fall the predawn call of the blue jay awakened me to a world of delight. The second story window looked into the maple branches, the kingdom of beings with flight. Entry to that kingdom was gained by sitting quietly without movement, travelling only with the eye and the ear.

There were no sounds to intrude on that kingdom in my childhood. Entry was effortless. Not so today. The sounds of life are barely heard above the hum of urban technology. The lost kingdoms of my childhood fade from reality. I am comforted by the knowledge that those lost kingdoms were experienced by most of the humans who have passed time on this planet. I am saddened that my children and grandchildren will not share this human experience. I am hopeful that my unknown descendents will once more gain entry.


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