Letter : Westport: A small park
Each night I sit on my bench in front of our house on Ellery Lane in Westport. We have lived in our house for 53 years and it has been like living in a small park. I will tell you why.
I look at the clouds, slowly drifting by, painting art work in the sky. The clouds change every minute. Then they drift and roll slowly into many shapes and colors. Some days they are all blue. Some days they are gray, hinting there may be a weather change.
Then I hear the clamor of many birds landing in the large trees in front of our house. There must be over 100 birds, a bird choir, all out of key. They are upset about something. It must be some kind of a bird convention. Maybe it is an uprising against their leader? Then they are silent and fly away. They will return in a few weeks. What has brought them back? Did they find food in our trees? Did they come again to settle a fight? To eat? To mate?
One of most dramatic sights I see is a huge flock of starlings, flying out of our trees, suddenly coming in and then out of view very quickly . But wait a minute — soon another group of these birds will flash into view. They always fly south over our house and I never see them return.
Something darts in front of my bench. It is very fast. It is very small. It is a chipmunk. Every day I see a lot of chipmunks in our yard, on our driveway, on Ellery Lane. They move so fast that I cannot photograph them or even know exactly what they look like. They are new kids on the block. We have lived in our house for 53 years and I have never seen so many chipmunks.
They have replaced the squirrels in our yard. We used to have many squirrels. All day they would hang on our bird feeders, trying to get lunch. They would rudely chase away birds and other squirrels. But where are they now? I have only seen four all summer. And one moved so slowly it must have been sick. Has sickness reduced their number?
There are many flower pots on our porch. Put that in the past tense...they did hold flowers. Today, the flowers are all gone and only stems remain. It’s them damn deer!!! At night they come right up on our porch, eat, and then go back into the woods behind our house. They have a regular path they follow in our back yard as they go to visit our neighbors. Sometimes we see a mother deer with two darling little baby deer in tow. There are 14 acres of woods behind our house, our own property and that of the Aspetuck Land Reserve. This wood is the home for turkeys, coyotes, deer, raccoons, small animals of all kinds. The turkeys walk slowly through our yard with dignity and disregard.
There are coyotes in these woods. They sometimes run though our yard. They look like mean, mangy dogs. Their barking is very shrill and we hear their fights in the night. They scare me.
As I sit on my bench in front of our house, I quite often hear helicopters go chopping to New York. Often a jet will pop into view. This year America celebrates the 100th anniversary of our national parks. They are the jewels we share. As I have said many times, here in Westport we have our own little park. We love it.