Birdsong

Prickly Pear Party

Last year, a neighbor gave me a sock full of birdseed. She loved her birds, and I would too. Was I at this point in my life? Apparently I am. I placed the sock in one of our ficus trees within view of the dinner table and we’d watch in awe as tiny birds in a dozen jewel tones would arrive momentarily in view to have a snack.

One sock became two. During the hot summer months, I also filled up a large automatic dog watering station near the feeders too. Soon, birds were dipping into the water to cool down and have a drink between bites to eat. It was all delightful.

At Christmas, my mother in law gave me a new feeder. It’s a small metal box with a chain you hang from foliage. Inside, you place a square of greasy suet. This attracts larger birds, who are mostly shades of brown but have the same voracious appetites as their younger, more colorful finch cousins.

Recently, my husband moved the feeders from the ficus tree to outside the kitchen window. The socks hang from a series of black metal hooks that are pushed deep into the earth below the window. The suet box hangs behind them from the branches of a climbing pyracantha, which is in full bloom with thousands of bright red berries.

All of this to say, I look forward to sticking my hands in a sink of warm, soapy water after dinner and listening to the birds outside of my kitchen window. We had no idea so many varieties lived in our neighborhood. It is a simple joy.

I’ve also become the woman who has a jar of homemade jam or chutney in her purse to give away. I’m not sure how or when this happened, but as I write this, I realize I handed out five jars yesterday, including to our favorite bartender at the sushi restaurant last night. I’ve given him enough jam, the transaction didn’t seem strange to anyone, including my shy husband who’d rather we just not make conversation with everyone, everywhere.

This time of life is comfortable and peaceful. Our family is healthy, we are enjoying our work, we have extra time to spend traveling and seeing friends and making tiny jars of jam with whatever fruit is in season. And the birds continue to fill the feeders.

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