Daily delights / by Jeannine Cook

Since I have been involved with hanging an art exhibition for my upcoming open studio/wine-tasting event, my 15th Annual Art-Tasting, on December 5th, the business side of my brain has had to dominate in the past days.

Nonetheless, there are daily delights that feed the right brain and give me such joy as I busy myself in the studio. Looking out of the windows onto the salt water creek in front of the house, for instance, I caught sight of huge swirls of water along the edge of the creek. Curious, I grabbed the binoculars, so that I could see more clearly beyond the overhanging tree branches. Lo and behold, about fifteen white ibis were down on the bank, having the most wonderful, vigourous baths in the salt water. Once drenched, they flew up into the trees above. There, they shook out their feathers, poked and preened, stretched and fluffed. Such a production. The final stage in the grey early morning was a concerted flight up to the roof of our house, one wet ibis after another. It must have been the best source of heat around, in their estimation. In due course, looking up, I saw a V formation of pearly white-breasted ibis taking off from the roof - all dry and clean, ready for breakfast!
Other moments that give a wonderful moment of respite come from watching four brown pelicans glide in wondrous formation just above the water, seemingly effortless in their aerial ballet as they patrolled the creek for a likely meal of small fish.
Or glimpsing a gathering of wood storks sailing higher and higher above the marshes on a thermal, soaring so effortlessly on their wide-spread wings, the essence of elegance that always makes me think of Japanese brush paintings of storks. Some while ago, I did a big watercolour painting of the wood storks, for I find them so magical.
Autumn brings its own share of sounds on the water too. Suddenly, we can hear the wonderful growling call of mergansers as they bob in unison far down the creek, fishing and preening in a mass of vibrant black dots on the water. The best sounds, however, are those of the dolphins blowing as they surface to breath, before diving again to fish and play. These sounds are a daily delight that are an enormous privilege to hear.
Somehow, preparing an art exhibition gets done, between these delicious distractions!