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December 2008

November 2008



    My wife's mother, a dynamic woman, died at home late last week -- just before her 92nd birthday.
    Gert loved nature, she loved the Celery Farm, and she loved her birds.
    Near the end, with her health failing, Gert was confined to her bed, which had been moved to near a window so she could look out. Her children put a feeder outside the window so that she could watch the birds.
   Aside from an occasional "lady Cardinal," as our family has taken to calling them, the feeder drew got nothing but House Sparrows.
   Gert had four or five frequent fliers, and she could identify each sparrow as they jostled one another for seed.
   I can't tell you what joy those House Sparrows brought her. But I do know this: On Fern Street and beyond, there's a new-found appreciation for birds that we have taken for granted.
   At Gert's wake, her family handed out little cards with a view of a lighthouse on one side and a quotation on the back. One quoted a favorite  writer of mine, John Burroughs.
  The passage ends: "The longer I live, the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world."
   Gert's favorite song was "It's a Wonderful World," and a world full of wonder it is -- down to the drabbest House Sparrow.
   Amen, Gert.


  It's autumn, so it's only natural that the mystery be a leaf. My wife's sister found this in her yard in Westchester and wondered what it is.
  I thought: Let the Monday Morning Mystery masters take a shot. It is a large leaf.
  Click here for more Monday Morning Mysteries.