I just spent over three weeks feeding the birds. Really.
The various feeders outside my home office window have been swinging empty for way too long. My desk sits in front of a window that looks onto the flowering cherry in my side yard. The empty feeders hang in its lower branches, framed by the window. I keep meaning to stop at the feed store.
When full of seed and suet, the feeders attract a colorful array of bird life to my window. The flitting brightness actually helps me focus on work. An old edition of Sibley Guide to Birds sits off to the side, its corners soft and curling slightly. It’s a handy resting spot for a mug. This guide is also somewhat dangerous to have at hand, it’s too easy to get lost paging through the brilliant illustrations. Come to think of it, maybe right on my desk isn’t the best place for this fascinating book, after all.
It takes me almost two weeks to drive to the feed store, which is an awfully long drive. I stocked up on three kinds of feed. The nice young man who insisted on helping me load my car called me Ma’am. I caught a glimpse of myself in the rearview mirror while backing out: wild hair, gray roots, crazed eyes. I look like a Ma’am. Damn.
The bags of feed have since been having a fabulous time traveling around town. When I load up on groceries, there they are still in the trunk. They look smug and manage to slouch, accusingly. “Shut up.” I snarl as I tossed a weighty load of potatoes on top of the heap. Unloading the groceries again, they are slumping lop-sided and insolent against the wheel well, clearly mocking my lack of motivation.
Yesterday afternoon, more than three weeks after starting this project, I did it. I dragged myself outside and overcoming the emotional exhaustion of January. One by one, I hefted the sacks from the car. (Ma’am, indeeed) I filled one after another long-empty feeder. The swinging Suet Feeders, echoing Niger Tubes, and desolate Sunflower Feeders finally hung full and heavy while a stunned silence erupted from hedge and tree as I hauled the remainder down to their storage bins in the barn.
The silence held as I returned from the bottom of the yard, slammed shut the empty trunk and was finished. I stood and breathed in the chill air and turned once more to admire my small victory; it only took three weeks and an afternoon.
Back inside, mug of tea warming my hands, I perch at my desk and watch for the first tentative visitors to the feeders. I spent just over three weeks feeding the birds and one afternoon feeding my spirit.