I was not paying close enough attention. The nest was re-built while we were in California, and in all our busyness of return, we didn’t sweep away this fluff-ball of a nest in time. Mother robin appears to have taken up permanent residence on her eggs a top this beam, just outside the main door to the porch. She doesn’t seem to mind the kitties asleep on the wicker chairs, but if we open the door, we scare her away and she leaves the eggs unattended, which, of course, will spell disaster. So, we’ve decided to use the pantry door off the kitchen to get outside and just do our best to leave her alone, and see what happens. From what I’ve read, it will be another 12-14 days until they hatch, then 9-16 days of frenzied feeding by both the parents before the youngsters fledge. That’s a long time to stay off our porch and out of her comfort zone. What to do, what to do. Perhaps a predator will come along, but we don’t want to be the ones responsible.
The April weather records are now in, and, as we suspected, it was the second rainiest April ever recorded. In terms of what they call water years, this was the wettest one since 1899. We’ve had company inside the house as well– old and dear friends from our Colorado past–who came to celebrate my upcoming 70th birthday with me. They were good sports about the rain, and admired the moss growing on our roof. When we dropped the last of them at the airport yesterday afternoon, the sun came out, and I swear I could actually see the bright green leaves unfolding from their tight buds.
There’s nothing quite so empty as a house after loved ones have gone. I sat for a while by the water, bundled up in the cold, and watched the sun begin its slide down. I began to reclaim my home space by listening to the wind in the trees. But, it takes awhile to get back home. Doing laundry and cleaning the house is a great remedy and I should get to hang sheets in the sweet sunshine in the next few days. Poetry is always helpful and I discovered W.S. Merlin’s poem this morning, which feels so appropriate as the trees are opening their “curled fingers”. And, it read to me as a lovely elegy, for my old friends, “who remembers when you were young”. “You were the way I saw the world.” “Old friend”, indeed, from long ago, when it was “high summer” in my life.
Elegy for a Walnut Tree
by W.S. Merwin
Old friend now there is no one alive
who remembers when you were young
it was high summer when I first saw you
in the blaze of day most of my life ago
with the dry grass whispering in your shade
and already you had lived through wars
and echoes of wars around your silence
through days of parting and seasons of absence
with the house emptying as the years went their way
until it was home to bats and swallows
and still when spring climbed toward summer
you opened once more the curled sleeping fingers
of newborn leaves as though nothing had happened
you and the seasons spoke the same language
and all these years I have looked through your limbs
to the river below and the roofs and the night
and you were the way I saw the world