This morning I woke to the cawing of crows in my yard - something akin to roosters I suppose but more grating. A sound I don’t usually hear so close by.I got up, made coffee and sat by my back window to watch. I love crows for their interesting altruistic behaviours and strong family ties but not keen on their baby bird predatory behaviour, however, I accept it. As I sit here sipping my coffee, I reflect back on all the changes this year, in particular, those happening in my yard.
My 13 year old Golden Retriever, Daisy, is aging. She has lost the reign of her yard and handed over pack dominance to her younger doggie friends just recently. All these changes seemed to occur quite quickly. Up until last fall I would have told you my dog was going to live forever as she had never shown signs of aging. But now I see her time is coming.
I would never see squirrels in my yard.The numbers that I have now enjoying leisurely meals under my bird feeders tells me they feel safe here now. In the past, Daisy would frantically ask to be let out to chase any up a tree, always narrowly and thankfully missing them by a hair. I seem to be over run with every colour of squirrel now as they chase each other around the yard and visit me at my window sill for the peanuts they've become accustomed to during covid. Squirrels, my new “lockdown friends” never minded that I wasn’t wearing a mask as long as I handed out breakfast on time.
And the sound of crows... Well that just made Daisy crazy in the past. There was no way a crow could sit in my yard, or in a tree, cawing, or even silently fly over the yard. She had a “hate on” for crows for some reason and would race across the yard chasing them out of the no fly zone, pound on any tree they landed on and bark frantically at any that challenged her. As they feed under my feeder this morning and call for their mates to join them, she doesn't seem to hear them anymore, nor does the site of them bother her nearly as much as before. She has accepted this change too.
I would rarely see any live rabbits in my yard sadly. Too often she would find a rabbit nest in my yard, unbeknownst to me, and would unearth and kill all the babies sadly. Her hunting instincts were very strong, often too strong. Rabbits, now plentiful here, seem to have no fear of her. I often have three adults coming for dinner under those same feeders. I watched Daisy the other day, having a snow bath no more than 15 feet away from a pair of rabbits munching and enjoying the dog antics without any concern. I believe my dog finally realizes they leave her favourite “rabbit snacks” all over the yard for her.
As the cawing continues this morning and the squirrels are scurrying, Daisy now lays here at my feet, slightly deaf, cataracts in her eyes and stiff from arthritis that has made mobility challenging. She was my daily hiking partner and we would spend hours together, just she and I, in the back woods and swamps, exploring, getting dirty, while I found artistic inspiration. Being an overprotective dog, I never feared being out in remote areas with her and we enjoyed hours of exploration in all the green spaces close to where I live. Those days have passed and she can no longer walk that far anymore. It saddens me to think how much she and I both enjoyed these adventures and I will miss her company in the future. For now short walks around the block and lots of sniffing seem to fulfil her. And thats OK too.
Life is forever changing and as hard as it is sometimes, we adapt to these changes. As for future artistic inspiration, I will always seek them out but it will be different. But different isn't always bad, its just different.