Take time for a song

On the Way

By Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

Olivia Fowler

There is a trellis made of cedar on the pathway from the house to the tractor shed. It was the joint project of Fowler and our daughter Katherine several summers ago, and they built it from cedar limbs and posts on one of the hottest days of the summer.

They said it was one-of-a-kind and that there would never be another. They said some other things too that don’t bear repeating.

There’s a clematis vine that’s grown over it now, woven in with a rambling rose. On a hot day after the vine has leafed out, you can stand beneath it in the patch of darkness and enjoy the shade.

To the right of the trellis are a mixed group of yarrow, iris, lamb’s ear and spring bulbs that are supposed to bloom in increments but don’t. An old oak stump serves as an anchor for the garden angel. She’s made from roof flashing and wire and held together with rivets. Perhaps she isn’t beautiful, but she is unique.

She was a project begun on a whim with the thought that she could be built in a day. Begun as a labor of love, she evolved into a test of character. The day she was finished was a happy day.

The first high wind that came along after she was put into place detached her wings. They lay beside her for some time before I could face working on her again.

But after a few days I began to see the accident as an opportunity to fix a design flaw. Her wings were too short to allow her to actually fly, so I cut out another pair, much longer, and attached them more securely.

Now she will flap in the wind but stay on the ground. A rogue branch from the stump has grown up through her head, so everytime it gets long enough to poke through her wire ringlets, I run get the pruners and trim it back.

The garden angel isn’t the only winged thing living by the trellis.

If you pass beneath it and pause for a moment, it’s possible to hear the soft sound of a dove cooing. There’s sometimes a flutter of wings.

Firmly built into the thicket of clematis vine is a carefully constructed nest. Nestled cozily inside is a dove. She has laid her eggs in the nest, and her mate flies to and fro bringing tidbits for her.

Although we all walk back and forth beneath the trellis numerous times in a day, nothing seems to bother this little family.

This is the third year she’s chosen the trellis as a suitable place to raise a family. Fowler can run the weed eater, mow grass, clean out brush and cut off dead limbs with the chainsaw and she isn’t bothered by any of it.

Now there is a bird with a positive attitude. She feels safe in the trellis, and time has shown us that she is. So far we haven’t seen her babies when they leave the nest and go out into a world fraught with danger.

I’d love to get a glimpse of that. It is very comforting to know that despite all the disasters that occur throughout the world there is a dove on Fowler Farm who is unworried.

She is secure in her acceptance of the environment as it is.

Each evening before supper I like to go out onto the front porch and sit in the swing. I listen to all the different sounds the birds make as their day is winding down. And when I hear the cooing of the doves and they call back and forth to each other, I feel a rush of gratitude for the small miracles that make up the moments of our lives.

I hope wild birds will always find a home on Fowler Farm.