Harbinger of happiness

William Leaman/Alamy Stock Photo; Audubon Songbirds Calendar

I still depend upon printed weekly planners and wall calendars to keep track of my life. There’s something so satisfying about noting down all the important coming events in red ink by hand on actual paper at the beginning of each year. Something childishly exciting about thumbing through the neatly lined Filofax pages to discover what day of the week your birthday or anniversary will fall on. You hold your future in your hands in a way that I just don’t think is possible with digital versions of the same.  What I love most, though, is opening the Audubon Songbird wall calendar every year and seeing which birds will be featured in the twelve months ahead.  I was delighted to discover that the Eastern Bluebird, one of my favorites, is the bird of the month for June (which includes my birthday) in 2023.  A harbinger of happiness in many different cultures, a blue bird just yesterday landed in our window box and proceeded to snack on the winterberry branches there.  It was a rare sighting for late December and a sign, I hope, of good things to come.  Speaking of birds and good things ahead, on April 18, 2023 A Wing and a Prayer: The Race to Save Our Vanishing Birds by my brother Anders and his wife Beverly Gyllenhaal will be published by Simon & Schuster.  More to come on this important, dramatic, pathbreaking book — so mark your calendar. In the meantime, wishing you much happiness in the year ahead.

December 31st

by Richard Hoffman

All my undone actions wander
naked across the calendar,

a band of skinny hunter-gatherers,
blown snow scattered here and there,

stumbling toward a future
folded in the New Year I secure

with a pushpin: January’s picture
a painting from the 17th century,

a still life: Skull and mirror,
spilled coin purse and a flower.

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14 Responses to Harbinger of happiness

  1. Beth H. says:

    Happy new year, Liza! Thank you for a year of poetry in the garden.

  2. Gwen Rhodes says:

    Love your writing. Am so excited about the book Anders and Beverly are publishing. I follow their Flying Lesson blog….its great…and I am a birder.
    much happiness to you in the new year Liza…

  3. Beverly Gyllenhaal says:

    Awww! What a wonderful tribute to the year ahead. I, too, depend on a
    “Real” calendar and have saved many through the years. And thanks so much for mentioning our book!

  4. Emily Gyllenhaal says:

    Thank you for your blog. I always look forward to taping the “click here” on your email that leads to whatever you have chosen for your next blog. Always brings such delight and makes the world seem like a more magical place. And I do find nature to be the most reliable source for joy (animals included).

  5. Barry Littmann says:

    Barry AWOTC
    We have two birdbaths outside our screened porch where our fine feathered bathers
    provide much entertainment. And it’s free!

  6. Margie says:

    Thanks Liza – also looking forward to the bluebirds. And to Anders book, sounds so interesting and important!

    • Liza says:

      Thanks, Margie. I’m hoping maybe they can give a talk at some point when they’re up here.
      Here’s to the new year!

  7. Phyllis says:

    Thanks Liza for a great year of insightful nature musings and poetry. It’s always a treat to indulge in nature, poems, and other great writing. I pre-ordered Anders and Beverly’s book and look forward to reading it in April. Much love to you and Bill. Rock on! Love, p.

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