May 19, 2014

After so long in quiet darkness, the conductor raises her arms, the light comes up and the symphony begins. The trill, click and bob of the Redwing Blackbird, the persistent thrum of Canada Geese, the chirp of frantic robins, the twitter of fluting warblers. Each day now the symphony crescendos until soon we will awaken, lean toward the open window to slide it shut and silence the cacophony.

Art by Shannon Troxler



The Certainty of Birds

May 11, 2014

Birds lead lives of constant certainty.  They know that when they open their eyes to the morning, the sky will meet the earth.  They know tree branches will bend in the wind, that rain and snow will fall from the sky, that aggressive birds will pick and prey upon them, that food will be plentiful or not.  Each day’s dawn provides assurance that this day will be like no other before or after.

Mixed Media by Susan Thulin

Mixed Media by Susan Thulin


Take Flight

March 8, 2014

Birds never leave us, but sometimes we forget about them. It’s when we get to spinning and thinking and spinning some more. One day, we discover that all that spinning has dug us into a deep hole.  There we are, underground in darkness, wondering what to do.  Wondering, until we remember that birds have wings, and if we listen they will teach us to fly.

Images by Shannon Troxler

Image by Shannon Troxler

Something New

January 1, 2014

All mixed up together on river’s open pool, mallards, golden-eye, mergansers. Need,  invisibly pulled them together last night, to cast off pain and sorrow, to share joy and revelations, to forget the burdens of being a duck. But on this day, they open their eyes to a refreshed landscaped, purified by New Year’s Eve snow and know unknowably that this day is different from the last.  It is time to retreat into solitude, they murmur to one another, to contemplate its newness.

Painting by Shannon Troxler

Painting by Shannon Troxler


November 29, 2013

The Downy Woodpecker clasps the thin branch of ice-laced willow amid an infinite array of shimmering crystals. Her signature red, feathery, hat glows like fire, illuminated by the piercing sun. With each tap of bill to willow, she unleashes a shower of diamonds, sparking, glittering, floating, dancing. A most brilliant performance for the eyes of one, blessed, birder peering from behind a pair of binoculars.



November 24, 2013


Artwork by Shannon Troxler

No need for breadcrumbs, string, compass or gps. Birds trust in their hearts. They don’t make promises they can’t keep, mislead or suggest they will stay. One day a force fills them with need. They stop with the chores and hang up their aprons. Each pulsation of that tiny organ confirms their destiny. They lift their wings to leap into air equally still and tumultuous.

The Gift

November 18, 2013

Beneath the hollow blue of morning sky, a white, full circle of moon pauses at the crest of snowy mountains then sinks beyond view. An immense sparkling dresses the meadow. Silvery round bodies of a dozen geese float on the sleek, gray of Skyline Pond. Each feathery package of awe holds a jewel of gratitude. The gift of another precious day.

Painting by Shannon Troxler

Painting by Shannon Troxler

Between Us

October 14, 2013

Oh, Gold Finch, where have you taken your fistful of color? Whose world do you brighten now? You left us wondering and going round and round. White descends, night’s black rises. We, the abandoned, are left dreaming, imagining what your eyes see now. Thick green. Pulsating scarlet. Deep, bottomless, blue. Feathery yellow.  And, all that lies between us.

Batik Painting by  Abby Paffrath

Batik Painting by
Abby Paffrath


September 11, 2013

Today the loss is overwhelming. From grey sky, heavy clouds spit rain. Outside the window a hummingbird lingers attracted by the red geraniums on the sill, the glass separating her from the promise of sweet nectar. She hovers to contemplate the other side and knows it is place wholly unimaginable without communion. From inside the glass and out, that is what we know.

Batik painting by Abby Paffrath

Batik painting by Abby Paffrath

The End of Sorrow

August 13, 2013

Even the most optimistic fall to the plight of humanity, when self-doubt and sorrow exceed the blue of the sky. But it is only an exceedingly lucky man, who on such a day removes himself to a rock in the bay to contemplate his misfortune. As he examines his arrogance and failures, a crane lifts up from the shoreline. The great bird’s leggy, feathery self embodies the hope that propels us to another day. He flies at the man and with his great beak snaps up his sadness and carries it away.

Art by Shannon Troxler

Art by Shannon Troxler


August 2, 2013

Beauty is white. Beauty is black. Beauty is essence; pure, unadulterated, smooth. Beauty is worn; tired, used, tried and failed and tried over again, full of stories of woe and elation.  Beauty is a line that flows confident in its journey. Beauty is a line that wanders discovering imagery in its making. Beauty is a swan revealing all that he is in the first light of day.  “Beauty is you my love,” he whispers.  “Come and create a new marvelous with me.”

Artwork by Shannon Troxler

Artwork by Shannon Troxler