Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Oasis

I live in a city. Sure, it’s not the life you first think of when you think “city.” I don’t ride in taxis or take the train or walk with a briefcase to my office wearing a trench coat. But it’s city-life compared to my hometown, where I was surrounded by cornfields, neighbors with red barns and tractors, and if the wind blew from the west, you could smell the pigs across the valley.

That’s why I’m so happy when a little wildlife comes to visit me. This Sunday we spent catching up on our To-Do lists while I had a pot roast in the oven, laundry in the washer, and George slept in the rectangle of sunlight on the dining room floor.

As I passed the window, I heard what sounded like a flock of birds outside. I stopped and looked out, but there were no birds sitting on the power lines or on the rose trellis out front. But the chirping was intense. Then I realized that the birds were in the bush directly in front of me. They hadn’t flown away when I approached because they couldn’t see me due to our tinted windows. I was able to sit there and watch the birds just a foot away from me as they hopped from branch to branch, fluffed out their feathers, and fussed at each other. That close, I felt like I was part of their world for a moment, sitting on a branch with my cup of tea.

Later I walked out in the backyard and noticed that the bird bath was empty. The loud chirping could still be heard from back there, and I filled a pitcher and let the water pour into the concrete bowl. Only a second after I started pouring, a little bird with a twinge of red on his head flew in and perched on the bird bath the same way that George runs for his dinner before it’s all poured into his bowl. The bird looked up at me, realized he had been too hasty, and flew a safe distance away.

The bowl replenished, as soon as I was only six feet away, eight birds swept in and started drinking. It made me promise to keep it filled more regularly.

I like thinking of our yard as a little oasis where the bird community can rely on a cool drink and a nice shady place to sit. We all need a place like that.

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