The limbs of the Pacific ninebark sway in the wind and on board one arching branch a Bewick’s Wren sits like the figurehead of a ship. He’s a brave and bold figure at that as the wind tosses the spray of the branch and the wren holds fast. His bill is a bowsprit facing the ship into the wind and the waves. That slender bill lifts as it calls out in song as if this ball of feathers is a lighthouse rather than a wee winged sailor. Amid-ship the beam of the ninebark is firm to ground. Its dense wood and roots act like a keel holding it steady. It’s a favorite vessel for many a bird. Most shelter from the weather deep in its tangled cinnamon spars. But the wren’s place is on the prow. He’s on watch with only a respite or two to visit the galley where’s he’s challenged by the other shipmates. Even the black-capped chickadee can unseat him from his feast for the wren’s bravery is bent on challenging the wind, not other passerines.
One can only hope that the easy courage and grace of the wren could be theirs when a storm hits. Would I still keep cheery watch and sing such a hale and cheeky song with a gale in my face and a rocking boat beneath my feet? Or would I like the other birds seek shelter amidships until the storm has passed? I may find out as life’s storms are always brewing. But, then I know too that the cloud breaks always come with their silver fringed cumulus and crepuscular rays. The breeze always softens, sometimes into the doldrums. And the whitecaps smooth into silk. So I think I’ll choose to be present and accepting of waves and calm alike with the Bewick’s wren as my shipmate.