Morning warms into a muggy afternoon; rake in hand I make my way across the drive. A strong hammering sound echos over the homestead. Standing in the warm sunlight I scan the tall pines in search of the culprit. In answer to the hammering a long loud call rings over the field like laughter over a game of cards. I spot him; the pileated woodpecker.
So large and majestic, the pileated woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in North America. Mighty foragers feasting on nuts, berries, and bugs, we most often spot them high in the pines in the woods around our home. Evidence of their presence often comes in large chunks of bark stripped from the trees and lying right at the base. Several such sights are common here on my property.
A true gift we found for this woodpecker is building a nest high in the dead pine still standing in our loafing field. You might remember this particular tree as the one that snapped off killing our horse during a windstorm. What a joy it will be to daily watch them work and build to raise a little family here in this place of sad memories.
Time has escaped me; the stalls still need my attention. As the kids come to join me in the work I direct them momentarily to the pine sharing the discovery. Awe struck and amazed we stand staring at their business until the trickle of sweat on our neck reminds us we have much to do. Working and cleaning, our load is lightened by the friendly sounds of our beautiful new neighbors.