We woke to the sound of rain on the roof and the roar of the creek in the valley below. My bedside clock told me it was time to get out of bed, but hardly any daylight shone in through the windows.

It was still quite dark out, enough so that even the parrots were fooled.

Our green bird usually reminds me to rise and shine as soon as the sun comes over the hill, but not today. When I took the cover off of his cage, I could see him in head down conure sleeping position, with his eyes still quite closed. As I whispered good morning, he opened his eyes to look at me, but stayed head down and still on his sleeping perch. As I puttered about and made our morning coffee, I would periodically look over at him.

Eventually, he started to stir, but still he made no move to get off of his perch. On this gray day, he seemed to be in no rush to get out of his green bird bed. Finally, he stepped down, and I opened his cage door to get him out so we could set the table for breakfast. This is our morning routine.

Table and breakfast ready, I placed him back in his cage with a parrot treat. Greg came downstairs and let out our pink parrot. Greg set the pink fellow down on the back of the chair at the head of the table, and Greg then took his place at the other end. The pink fellow preened as we ate and talked. He only paused his preening to occasionally join the conversation and ask what we were doing. Of course, we replied that we were eating
breakfast. The rain still fell outside. The creek seemed to roar even louder.

Dishes done, and with both parrots settled in for the day, under cover on the front porch, it was time for Greg and me to decide what to do. Outside projects were out of the question. I could clean, and Greg could oil his mechanical clocks, but the roar of the creek seemed to be calling us. We decided to go for a walk, in the rain.

We pulled on our rubber boots and stepped out the door, each carrying a large umbrella. One of our dogs happily ran ahead. The thunder of the rain-swollen creek grew even louder as we drew near. We stood still, on its flooded bank, amazed by the power of the water as it rushed past, wild and muddy, and then I cringed. Our water dog had passed us by and stepped right on out into the swirling backwater at our feet.

I held my breath and told her to stay close. She thankfully stayed close to us and the shore but still waded through water that was well up over her chest. I reasoned that she did need a bath, after all, but when I called her, as we turned to leave, I was ever so thankful that she came right up out of the water to continue our walk. I realized that the water-wet air had a wonderful smell to it, and I then knew that our dog’s dry fur would be ever so soft and similarly scented.

We continued our walk, picking up fallen branches and tossing them off to the side of the creek valley road. I noticed that a few green walnut hulls had begun to fall. When I came upon one, I would kick it on ahead of me and try to see if I could get it to stay on the road, so when I caught up with it, I could kick it on ahead again. As we passed under the walnut trees, I could smell the lemony scent of the hulls filling the air. I knew that soon they would be falling in earnest, crashing down on the barn roof and causing me to jump and wonder if our peaceful valley had gone to war with itself, but not quite yet.

As we walked back up the hill, I marveled at how bright the creek valley colors were on such a wet, gray day. The trees’ bark was a deep dark brown. Their leaves glistened bright green, and those leaves that had already fallen to the ground and lay wet by the side of the road were profoundly bronze.

In short, it occurred to me that even though my green parrot had decided to sleep in on this gray morning, the rain-filled day outside our windows really was brimming with wonder. We just needed to step outside and go for a walk to realize its beauty, though now, without any doubt, it was time for that second cup of coffee.

Christine Tailer is an attorney and former city dweller who moved several years ago, with her husband, Greg, to an off-grid farm in south-central Ohio. Visit them on the web at straightcreekvalleyfarm.com.