Spring arrives on the island like this. The signs are subtle and at first glance nothing special. A few dark-eyed juncos arrived along with the song sparrows. I met one of them yesterday as he was sitting on a gnarly branch of the old pear tree. His beak was stuffed with the lichen called old man's beard. "Hello!" I said to him, "Welcome back!" He just looked at me, but he didn't fly off.
I wonder if I lived in a place that had a great variety of song birds whether I would take any notice of these commonplace birds. I think I would probably go for the showy types, the celebrity birds, the shiny bright ones, and not pay any attention to these. And yet they are miraculous, in a modest kind of way, and bear close watching, like this island spring itself.