Friday, June 12, 2015

Leaving Home

A few years ago I had a dream. We were living in Texas at the time, but in my dream I was here, at our little yellow house in Colorado, the one we left when we moved, and the one we came home to. I dreamed of standing in the backyard watching birds build their nests. The mommy birds fluffed and arranged, and the daddies flew back and forth, going to work and coming home again, gathering supplies and watching over their lady birds. I remember being delighted and thinking that I needed to call my best friend, because she would love it. In my dream, she was at home in her house, not far and a phone call away. In reality, at the time she lived an ocean away, in Germany.

About a month or so ago, I was standing on our back porch, watching two different bird families building their nests, just a few feet away. The Wrens chose the bbq grill, the small, round, vent holes providing the perfect doorway. They would fly in with sticks and strands of grass longer than their bodies, and angle themselves like a pole vaulter to dart in through the opening. Sometimes the angle was wrong and they would twist away, somersaulting and realigning their burden, time and time again before getting it just right.

The Robins picked a spot at the curve of the drain for the gutter, protected by the eaves and right next to Chloe's window. Momma would fly in with string and twigs, carefully making her selection of different materials. Then she would sit down and wiggle around, making the inside as smooth and firm as an eggshell.

I stood there and was delighted. Then thought, I need to call Sarah, she would love this. And I did, because she had come home too, from her world away and was close enough to share a morning coffee.

 photo IMG_7619_zps2hhsstpj.jpg
Momma Robin
 photo IMG_7620_zpsspbyalki.jpg
Babies. (And yes, 3/4 of our house is yellow, but the back is a brilliant shade of teal.)
This morning, I came outside and two of our robin babies had flown the nest. After watching her sit for days and days, and then the hatching, followed by barely heard peeping and naked little pink heads peeking out, then watching as the babies growing stronger and bolder and louder, I feel like they are our babies too.

The momma and the daddy sat on the back fence and worried over Roscoe's sudden appearance. They fussed so much one of our chickens caught the alarm and started clucking loudly in sympathy. Sure enough, there in the bush sat a dark speckled shape blinking at the wide world it had found itself in. I confess that I wanted to scoop them up and deposit them back safely in the nest until they somehow grew stronger and bigger and more ready. This must be the scariest part, watching your littles be big enough to leave the nest, but not quite strong enough to fly away from danger.

I told the Momma Bird I knew how she felt, and I resisted the urge to plunk them back in the nest because they will not be strong enough to fly if they don't stretch their wings now. So I left them be, and kept my two hairy carnivores in the house instead.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The First Days of Summer

Summer brings me a welcome exhale. Freedom from packing school lunches, ferrying to soccer practices, the morning rush, and the demands of homework. It's all over for a blissful few months, and we are taking deep breaths indeed.
 photo IMG_7609_zpsfqin2ggr.jpg
The view from the kitchen window
We have a momma robin who has tucked her nest right under the eaves by Chloe's window. Her babies just hatched, not yet to the peeping stage, and outside we sit and watch her bringing them food. Today she flew in with a huge moth that was quickly snatched up by reaching beaks.

There is a tiny wren family that built a nest inside our BBQ grill. Momma has been diligently sitting on the nest while the daddy hovers close by. And we are now trudging over to our neighbor's house with our plates of meat.

And inside our nest, two days into summer and we have built a fairy garden, played an epic game of Monopoly, made homemade lemonade and popcorn, eaten outside and watched Agents of SHIELD until far past bedtimes. And also this:

 photo IMG_7600_zpsdrr57rto.jpg
Cello Love
 photo IMG_7606_zpsl8grtwu8.jpg
Aidan and Roxanne
 photo IMG_7598_zpsga9tbagm.jpg
Learning the mandolin
 photo IMG_7599_zpscvitephr.jpg
Chloe and Bessie
Here's to summer.