Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Mother's Day meadowlark

picture borrowed from
When I was a child, my family lived on bald, flat Saskatchewan prairie for a number of years, so you could say that I have a huge affinity for big sky and grasslands. I remember walking to the school yard on the edge of Plenty, Saskatchewan, where I ended up following a Western meadowlark from fence post to fence post around its perimeter, trying to mimic the bird's song. If you've ever heard the call of a Western meadowlark, and seen his pretty yellow chest and black necklace, you'll understand my fascination.

A meadowlark's song still makes my heart skip a beat, somehow, and this week, my heart skipped many beats! My husband took a business trip to Lethbridge and I went along, and the bonus was being able to visit with his parents and celebrate Mother's Day with his mom. Upon arriving in town, we stopped at the coulees of the Old Man River so he could deal with some voice mails/emails that had accumulated during the drive. I left him in our vehicle and walked down into the hills, hoping to hear my favourite birdsong, and I wasn't disappointed!

Not only was the music of the birds incredible, but the sound of the wind in the grasses and the beauty of the greening slopes felt holy, somehow. God really speaks to me in nature, and the meadowlark's song has to be one of the best in creation.

So come along to the bottom of a coulee with me this Mother's Day, and listen to the meadowlarks.

The brighter call is the male, and I suspect the raspier response is the female. Their music carries a long way -- I was sure the male was singing in the grasses right in front of me, but it turned out that he was on a tree at the top of the hill! There he is in the picture below, the little black silhouette on the treetop, a very shy guy. That's as close as he would let me get before he flew over the ridge into the next coulee, making me sorry he'd gone away.

It was my mom who first pointed out the joyful song of the meadowlark when I was small, and showed me other wonders of nature (but not worms!) Happy Mother's Day to all moms out there, but most especially my own, who loves her family, her God, her brothers and sisters in the inner city, and simple things like the exultation of a meadowlark, and has passed those loves on to me!

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