One of the few things my mom inadvertently taught me was to see the magic in nature. This mom of mine wasn't big on interaction. She kinda just did her thing, providing the necessities for five kids, going through her days depressed and overwhelmed. She rarely smiled. She was not affectionate. She did not engage us not even a how was school today? She was not very good at protecting us from the day to day hurts of a child's life, nor helping us recover from those hurts. She was not a haven. So any sort of mommy-esque attention left an indelible impression.
I remember in winter she would sprinkle birdseed on the stone wall, and point out the blue jays, cardinals, and starlings that gathered. In spring she would show us birds nesting in the azaleas or the Japanese maple in our front yard. I remember if I couldn't quite see she might hold my face in her hands and point my sights in the right direction. If she was feeling extra comfy in her own skin, she might even put her cheek against mine, allowing us to share the vision. So memorable, these rare slices of intimacy and physical contact. And in my mind, it was her connection with nature that moved her past her own discomfort and disconnect to a place where she could have a special moment with her child.
In the past few days, I've noticed a pair of birds flitting around the ferns I moved out to the porch last week. It kind of occurred to me that they were weirdly close to the house, almost as if they were scoping out real estate.
This is the male. Small, sparrow-like with a red head and shoulders.
This is the female, perched on the edge of the fern
It's a lovely spot. I enjoy it. But from a bird's eye view, seems kind of too close to humans for comfort
So Ty & Mia come running in after school mommy look there was a nest yesterday and now there are eggs mommy come look come look at the eggs
Lo and behold...
Two larger pale blue eggs with brown speckles. Four small light blue eggs. I think maybe the bigger eggs were abandoned, left by an abandoning mama birdie squatter.
I think about the birds, and I think about my mom, and I think about my kids. I have tried to not be an abandoning mama birdie squatter. I do the things that were for some reason so hard for my mom to do. I smile at them, I laugh at them, I kiss them on their heads. I tell them good job. I listen to them. I tell them I love them. I sit on them to keep them warm so they can hatch and fly away when the time is right.
I say leave the nest alone go out the back door so you don't scare her... she needs to sit on her eggs or they won't hatch. I want to protect the mama's ability to care for her eggs. I feel for the mama bird. She's just a bird, doing what she's hardwired to do, but I anthropomorphize her instincts. Because tied up in the bird nest is the rare memory of my mother laying her cheek against mine, and whispering in my ear look, right between those branches... do you see the nest?