A garden oasis and cultural center overlooking the Hudson River

Birds Sing in a Tiny Village Among the Evergreens

It’s never too late to share our connections with nature!  This posting from Courtney White, Director of Education & Public Programs, dates from late July.

Early Tuesday morning, I ran into Nancy Talley, a Wave Hill gardener who has done an amazing job on the Conifer Slope, near the Sally and Gilbert Kerlin Learning Center. With a big smile, she shared that she had just come from looking at the work in the woods done by the Family Art Project children at our weekend workshop, A Tiny Village Among Trees. I immediately knew that I needed to head that way before starting the day.

I turned the corner of Wave Hill House to find a Red Admiral butterfly’s beautiful colors standing out in the mist. It fluttered away into the woodland path, and I followed. Determined to find the tiny dwellings, I soon forgot about the butterfly and all of a sudden an American Robin began to call from above. It was not the typical “cheerup, cheerily, cheerily”; instead it was much more demanding, as if wanting all of my attention. I thought to myself that I must be near a nest and should move on to find the children’s work.

I moved, and the Robin moved. I moved again, and the Robin moved again. Finally, I stopped and gave my full attention to the sounds above me, “cheerup, cheerily, cheerily,” “feebee, feebee”, “what-cheer, what-cheer, what-cheer”, “tee-shaay.” Right above my head on the same tree branch, as content as could be, sat the American Robin, along with a Northern Cardinal, a Black-capped Chickadee and a Sparrow. I had never seen such a thing and watched with delight. In time, each flew away. Standing in awe, I looked back down to the ground, only to discover that I was standing among the children’s most amazing work—small twigs supporting a dried evergreen roof, a hammock perhaps for a newborn mouse, itsy ladders to the lowest branches, bitty beds for ants, centipedes or spiders, and so much more.

As I walked away, reflecting on the beauty of the children’s creativity and imagination, I thought how these birds must have enjoyed all the excitement, too. I was glad to see this special place with the birds. I walked back up the hill…and the Red Admiral returned to follow.

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