Monday, June 16, 2008

Empty Nesters

The birds flew the coop. We spent the last couple of weeks taking pictures of them. Every time they repositioned themselves in the nest, one of us ran out there with the camera and took a picture. In the end, they looked like little eagles on the edge of the nest. Now and then they flapped their wings and we jumped up and down and ran around like our toddler just took a step. And then they were gone.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Growing Children and Birds

The eggs in the nest on my porch hatched. I can see little heads popping up. One week later and the heads alone are as big as the eggs were. How could they have been inside those little eggs? How could they have grown so fast? Heads like that make me think of Kelly’s head when she was born. The midwives got out the tape measure. They said it was unusually large. I said, “You don’t have to tell me!”

Every day I take pictures of the birds. I have a stepstool out there so I can get a better look. They are about as big as the mother but they are scrawny. Already they are standing up and flapping their wings, wobbling on the edge. They are living on the edge. I’m always afraid, sitting there in my rocking chair watching, that one of them is going to fall off.

There’s no room left in the nest for the mother. Last night she didn’t come home. I imagine there was no getting any sleep in that crowded crib and so she shacked up somewhere else—the Catawba tree perhaps. Or maybe the cherry trees. In the morning, she was back. The four babies had their mouths wide open. Shovel it in! Shovel it in! There must be some good worms around here the way they are growing in leaps and bounds.

It is a good place for growing children and birds. Yesterday Kelly climbed up on the ladder and picked cherries. Cherries just like the kind you get in the store. They grow right here on our very own trees. You just go out there and get them. I watched from the porch as Kelly reached over and grabbed a branch. She dropped the cherries into a bowl and the ladder wobbled. I almost jumped up. “Be careful!” I called. She was right on the edge. Just like the birds.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Poinsettia That Won't Die

It’s June and the poinsettia Kurt bought me for Christmas is still kicking. It even has some new leaves on it. I should take the foil wrapper and red ribbon off the pot because it is getting a little ridiculous. I don’t really like it here anymore, in the corner, like a ghost. It reminds me of Christmas at a time when my daughter smells like coconut suntan lotion and Off. It is contradictory. It is not good for my chi. It is bad fung shui.

But I can’t throw it away because, chi or no chi, killing it is also bad karma. I can’t kill it. I feel sorry for it. It’s alive. Kurt suggested planting it outside but I’m pretty sure it’s tropical and wouldn’t survive. That would be passive-aggressive if I put it outside on the deck. I decided to talk to the brothers Dewey and Fred, who live in the doublewide and who built a greenhouse out of a kit they ordered through the mail. They know about flowers. They would know what to do with it. Maybe they would take it off my hands. Or I could leave it down by the Dumpster with a note around its neck, “Please Take Me Home.”

”Wheel,” Dewey took off his Southern States cap and scratched his head. “If it was me Miss Van Cleaf, (it’s Van Cleave, not cleaf, but he can’t get that straight just like he can’t stop calling me “Miss” even though I told him, “Just call me Debi.”—of course I kind of like it—it’s charming.) “If it was me, Ida thrown that thing out right around New Year’s Day. Yes I woulda. Y’all want us to come and git it for you?”

You’d think we were talking about a troublesome animal, a possum in the barn perhaps or a squirrel in the swimming pool. Just in case I didn’t believe him, Dewey turned to his brother and said, “Fred, tell Miss Van Cleaf what you woulda done with that poinsettia, would you?”

Fred wiped his hands on a rag he’d taken from the back pocket of his pants and came closer. “I woulda throwed it out too Dewey.”

Since the brothers were no help, I considered giving up and keeping the thing till next Christmas. It’d save Kurt some money since he gets me one every year. I’d pretty much just ignore it like I had been doing. Now and then I walk by with a glass of water in my hand and if I think about it, I stop and pour it in. Maybe it’ll make it till Christmas. Of course the minute I resign myself to its life, it’ll croak.