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.

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Momma Robin
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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.

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