Little Local Joys: Look Through Any Window

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Friday, April 3, 2020, 7:50 am
Ann Kammerer

Above: "This squirrel is usually very busy, but every now and again, it stops and settles down on this particular branch." (Photos by Aron Sousa)

One of the ongoing stories shared by ELi readers and contributors about little things and positive moments that bring us joy and hope during the coronavirus outbreak.

Aron Sousa has typically brought work home, using the dining room table in his East Lansing home as a makeshift desk. These days, the interim dean for the College of Human Medicine at MSU works from a more traditional home office as he adjusts to a stay-at-home life imposed by the coronavirus.

Like many who are blending their work and living spaces during the time of COVID-19, Sousa is appreciating the simple things that make a house a home. Nested in an upstairs spare bedroom of his home in the Oakwood Historic District, Sousa can look beyond his computer screen and through the window to everyday dramas unfolding in his backyard. Cardinals blaze. Doves coo and nestle. Squirrels skitter and raid feeders, their chatter overlaying conversations in Sousa’s office.

Above: "These doves were mating when I turned on the camera, and by the time I got everything set up, they were preening and getting their feathers in order. Of course, there could always be a second round...."

“Since I’m working from home, it means that work doesn’t have a beginning or and an end,” Sousa admitted. “The birds and squirrels and wildlife are a nice and lovely diversion.”

To capture the moments, Sousa occasionally reaches for his digital camera, equipped with a telephoto lens. When he spots an antic, he snaps a picture. And when he’s privy to something serene, he’ll carefully frame a shot.

“I haven’t really had time to take pictures before now,” he said. “But now, I can be working on something, look out my back window, and snap a quick photo. The window is just clean enough, too.”

To date, Sousa said his best shots are of a pair of cardinals, building a nest. A red squirrel, too, provides endless poses, digging and collecting tiny objects.

"Doves aren’t the only ones who are getting busy. A cardinal pair also was active in my yard. The male (above) was keeping a close eye on a female who was collecting sticks for a nest (below)."

“I’ve seen woodpeckers and chickadees and a hawk flew by, too,” he said. “It’s important to take some time and to do and think about something aside from work. I don’t have any plans for the pictures. I just took them to share with Alice, my wife.”

Sousa’s wife, Alice Dreger, is ELi’s Publisher. From her backyard office’s window, she has been seeing birds she rarely sees. She guesses that is because the neighboring college students whose springtime play would usually keep rarer birds at bay are now all gone. This week, she spotted a northern flicker and a rufous-sided towhee.

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