Every day for a week, a flicker called from atop our fence. Beautiful, with its graceful long beak, speckled chest and red cheeks. I talked back to the bird through the window and he seemed to respond. Two more flickers perched in our backyard tree.
On Thanksgiving our furnace stopped working. After a cold night of sleeping under electric blankets, the furnace repair guy came over and tested the furnace. “Not enough air getting to the intake,” he said, and then, “Wow, I’ve never seen this before.”
It was a flicker stuck in the flue. It had fallen down the chimney and gotten sucked nearly into the furnace itself. It had suffocated. My husband put its body in a bag outside the back door. That day, “my” flicker did not call from the fence, nor did the pair watch from the tree. They knew their friend was not coming back.
It was a non-human drama that we had the privilege to notice. How many communications are happening outside that we are oblivious to? Whether we are aware or not, we are part of nature’s conversation, part of Earth’s body humming, part of a consciousness that encompasses all forms of life. The life of the Earth is also our life.