Friday, 15 May 2020

View From the Crow's Nest: I see Goldfinches

I logged these notes several weeks ago. I gave them time to settle before re-reading them and deciding whether to share them with you. As with almost everything, it's not the whole story, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, but it is part of my story that I'm living with in these unusual times. I hope it is for you, too. 
May 3: I awoke this morning and checked my Facebook page to find these words by poet Mary Oliver.

Oh yes, indeed! We have yet again an opportunity to be alive, to experience a fresh morning in a broken world. Reading that was a second wake-up moment for me.

You can read the rest of the poem here (I hope you do!):

May 4: Yesterday’s poem was about goldfinches.

Oliver reflects on the goldfinches gathered in a field of thistles “to see who can sing the highest note, or lowest, or the most expressive of mirth, or the most tender” ... not to be winners, or to please us, but just out of sheer delight and gratitude.

As I write this, half a dozen goldfinches are flitting about in our yard.

They are joined by golden crowned sparrows, rosy finches, juncos and pine siskins, robins and towhees, hummingbirds and the occasional flicker, taking baths in the rock pools in our pond, fighting over the feeders, hiding out in the blooming dogwood and singing their hearts out.

 “Oh, do you have time to linger for a just a little while out of your busy and very important day?” asks Oliver. “I beg of you, do not walk by without pausing to attend to this rather ridiculous performance. It could mean something.”

May 5: That word “ridiculous” in the above line catches my attention.

The adjective “ridiculous” comes from the Latin word ridere, which means “to laugh.” But it’s often used in a mocking way – “What a ridiculous outfit she’s wearing,” for instance. Ridiculous can also mean preposterous, foolish, absurd.

I think about the goldfinches gathered in a field of thistles, singing their hearts out. Ridiculous! What will it get them? Where’s the profit in that? They’re singing out of the sheer delight of being alive, but that doesn’t bring home the bacon. Ridiculous...but thank God, they’re singing and filling that field of thistles with song. Someone will stop to listen. It could mean something to someone.

photo from MyMinnesotaWoods

And what about me, holed up in my studio for hours on end, making pieces of art or writing notes to myself? Ridiculous! Where’s the profit in that? But it is who I am. Perhaps only God will check out the results of my creating. But that would be enough.

So I’ll take my chances and join the goldfinches in their ridiculous songs. It could mean something to someone.

Not "20 finches at the feeder" but the entry for April 20 in my Diary of Daily Delights!

By the way, this site  https//  
is a wonderful site for finding beautiful poems.)
And to hear a goldfinch song, check out this link:

Or come visit our backyard!


  1. Hi Jessie
    I have just discovered your blog. Your talents are awesome. Your quilting inspires me and so do your words. You have been blessed with extraordinary gifts.

  2. Thanks, Mina...glad you found it. I just enjoy writing these blogs, but knowing someone appreciates it is icing on the cake.