The other morning I was awakened by Morgane whispering in my ear, “Mom, you gotta come see the birds”. Intrigued, I followed her to the window, and rubbed my eyes. Then went to get my glasses. There were indeed 5 large, round moving lumps nestled in the snow, but I couldn’t really process what I was seeing, it seemed so unusual. Or maybe I just wasn’t fully awake yet. Morgane told me, “I saw them from my bedroom window.” Which by the way, is upstairs. Glad she got husband’s stellar eyesight. We watched them rustle about for awhile, and I went to get the camera and further investigate exactly what kind of birds bury themselves in fresh snow. I ventured outside in hopes of a good shot, but alas got too close, and suddenly off they flew in one fluid motion – 5 lovely, plump partridge. (Wildlife note: I did a little bird research, and I’m still not quite sure about the difference between a partridge and a grouse; they appear to be pretty darn close. Therefore, I decided to call these guys partridges given the approaching holiday and in honor of the song.) I didn’t get the photo, but stood there smiling after witnessing this event. What a wonderful start to the day.
I adore these kind of Montana moments. Last week, I came home one afternoon to see a herd of elk thundering down the hill behind our house. Not that long ago, I was sitting working at the computer when a bald eagle flew by, just like that. It makes me stop whatever I am doing and exclaim, “Holy Shit!” Yeah, not exactly an eloquent musing on the power of nature, but it so appropriately describes what I am feeling. It’s like I am witnessing these timeless rhythms of nature intersect with my modern, nutty world, and zing – the hair stands up on the back of my neck and I utter profanities. It’s like this intersection causes some kind of primitive physiological response. It’s pretty cool. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. And happily, the partridges seem to have decided that they like our house, because we keep seeing them snuggled up out there in the snow. So we’ve changed that lyric in the 12 days of Christmas song to, “And a partridge out in the snow”.