16 July 2010

you should get a bird feeder

I started this bird nest story yesterday.  To get the full picture of my transformation {from someone with dreams of birds serenading me to a person who actually says to a robin, "Shut up! You're ugly!"}, you should read that first part.


I imagined birds flying up to my feeder, landing gracefully and lightly, nibbling gracefully and lightly, all the while serenading me.

Please note that my dream view of how birds act may be slightly influenced by that scene in Disney's Cinderella when the birds help her get dressed.  Working together, they tie her sash into a bow that would make a beauty queen in the South jealous:  so even, so flouncy, so flattering.

I didn't want the birds to help me get dressed; I can tie a rather flouncy bow all on my own, a skill I developed in cheerleading that has yet to translate into a useful life skill, unless you count dressing up American Girls dolls as a life skill.  Not that I still dress up my Samantha and Kirsten dolls.

Anyway, we should return to the birds and my bird feeder.  It doesn't have your typical birdseed in it, nor is it a hummingbird feeder to draw in the blurry fast ones.

I use cut fruit in my feeder—oranges and apples, mostly—stuck on a skewer.

Ok, that makes it sound like I have the cheapest, shoddiest bird feeder ever, and I'm trying to pass it off as unique.  Contrary to what it sounds like, I did not take some popsicle sticks and shove rotting fruit on them, hoping for the best and duct taping them to the balcony railing.

This is an actual bird feeder; there's even a ceramic bird resting on top, like a decoy.  It's yellow and its beak is curved into a smile beyond normal levels of bird joy.  This is so the other birds know that a) it's safe on my balcony, and b) the only way to ever look as happy as this is to come visit this fruity, fun-filled feeder.

The decoy is a sign to birds that this balcony—full of flowers in various stages of dying because gardening is not a gift of mine—is bird-friendly.  I will welcome them, feed them, encourage their singing, and give them a place to rest.

Not long after I put up the feeder, a robin couple moved in. 

They might've decided that this is the right neighborhood for them because it's been quiet out on my balcony for the last few weeks.  I've been travelling a lot for work, and then there was the vacation to a cottage on a lake in Canada.

Except for the friend coming every few days to check on my plants, this has been a calm place, the bird version of the suburbs and just the spot to raise a family, or at least get them past the egg stage.  After they leave the nest, you know, all you can do is cross your wings and hope that they'll be okay.

I first noticed the nest when I was home for less than 24 hours between work trips.  After realizing that I didn't need to bother unpacking—and could, in fact, re-wear the same outfits on Business Trip #2—I stepped onto the balcony to appreciate nature, a gentle moment to sit somewhere that wasn't an airplane or a board room.

A robin zoomed by just as I opened the door, and I looked to see where she'd come from:  the porch light, where she was building a nest.

I was instantly taken with this idea, this way I was integrating with nature without even realizing it.  This bird and her bird husband {I assume they are married, but you never know these days and it's okay if they aren't} had chosen my balcony out of all the balconies around.

I was sure there must be a sign, some message from God about living simply but purposefully.  I spent several moments watching the nest, breathing deeply, and trying to cultivate one of those “awareness of nature” moments. 

The next afternoon on a plane to Minnesota, I wrote that poem about my nest {I clearly really want you to read that poem, and if you haven't by now, I don't know if you're a very careful reader, but I can say that you're a discerning link-clicker}.

I was already thinking of my nest a little territorially.  My birds.  My nest.  My opportunity to be deep and reflective about nature and then be rejuvenated by that pondering, even though my body and mind were worn down to nubs.

My poem{Oh my gosh, another link to it.  Please tell me you've read the poem by now.}

{And let me tell you, it didn't take long for me to go from pretending to be Cinderella, serenaded by birds, to a rage-rage-against-the-chirping-of-the-robin.  Coming up tomorrow, or perhaps Sunday:  I am transformed from the girl who can tie a perfect bow into someone unrecognizable, someone who yells at birds, someone who has Very Bitter Thoughts about God's creatures.  You know, someone normal. You can read about that transition here, in Part III of the Robin Saga.}

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