Letter: Calling birds remain a December mystery


To the editor:

As I don't have any pear trees in my yard, no partridges have been sighted but there was — to my delight and wonder — a pair of calling birds.

As my little dog and I were taking our early morning stroll I heard a clear, beautiful song — nothing I had ever heard before. Then in the distance an answering response. The notes were almost the same, but the ending ones a bit different. Being sure that I would never have the chance to hear them again I stayed so long that my little companion came back to see if I was all right. I don't suppose I will ever know what they were, but what a gift on a gray morning.

We travel the same path twice a day and often there is something new and different as on another gray morning when all the reddish, almost horizontal canes of our pestiferous and invasive Rosa multiflora were hung with left over raindrops. They were so full of light that it looked as though a million little LED lights had been placed on the canes by magic during the night.

Did you ever plant something to remind you of a time or a place? I have done this twice. The first was a native witch hazel and I know I talk about the sparse, twisted yellow flowers that appear in October and how I remember the excitement of finding them when I was about ten years old.

The other was to plant Crocus sativus, the saffron crocus which comes up with a myriad of little straight spears as though there was a battalion of tiny soldiers just under the ground. These little spears  disappear and in the fall lavender crocus with a sweet scent appear to remind me of the valley in Kashmir where I first became aware of them. It was late afternoon and the air was filled with a golden haze and the entire valley floor was filled with raised beds in which the crocus was blooming. I had them stop the car so that I could get out and lie down on my side to see all the hundreds and hundreds of lavender flowers. Last week in tidying up my garden I found one flower and just that one flower took me back to that enchanting afternoon.

Sidney Tynan

Little Compton


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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.