Spring Lessons

Open Arms--does this not make you smile?

Open Arms–does this not make you smile?

With each passing day, the enthusiasm of the birds increases. The volume and variety of their songs grows in direct proportion to the temperature–or perhaps it’s with the lengthening of the days? Their songs remind me that it’s time to come out of hibernation and sing a song or two myself.

I, however, try to limit my singing to the shower as a favor to the rest of the world.

Besides the desire to sing, spring invariably increases my need to be outdoors. The feeling of bouncing off the walls after too much indoor time has struck home and I am looking for outdoor pursuits. Fortunately for me, my friend Dale is willing to help me pursue my growing interest in raptors. We made a play date.



This is not really play, it just feels like it. In reality, I’m learning how to train and care for birds of prey. I’m not quite sure where this is going, but I can at least learn how to care for the birds for John and Dale when they are out of town.

So, off I go to the Wings to Soar (new name) facility for some lessons in bird training. I and the birds get to learn together.

Before we get started, Dale has a new project underway. She’s come up with an adorable prototype design that she plans to create in a smaller form as a necklace. It’s called Open Arms–embracing everyone for who and what they are without judgment. If you knew Dale, you would understand just how appropriate it is that she came up with this design. It’s the kind of thing that just makes you smile–this is the effect Dale has on people.

Mystery flowers

Mystery flowers

I have fun trying to get a few shots of it in front of some Forsythia. The Forsythia–a legendary foreteller of spring in the north–adds to the overall cheerfulness of the day. A colorful character reminding us to be open to each others’ differences, blooming shrubs telling us spring really is here, and a fun friend who makes time to teach me. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

Dale and Billy

Dale and Billy

John asks me to take a few shots of the Periwinkle in bloom as well. It’s a beautiful color, although it’s one of those plants that’s considered an invasive back home, so I can’t say it’s my favorite. I’ve spend a few too many hours trying to pull out its difficult roots.


While I was on a flower kick, I found this interesting vine with yellow blooms that Dale had never been able to identify. I don’t know what it is either, but it was fascinating to watch the yellow blooms bounce and sway in the wind.

Finally, when Dale got out the Harris’s Hawks to get their daily outdoor time, I switched from flowers to birds and took a few shots of Billy on the glove.

It was a great way to kick off a training session.