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Friday, March 02, 2007

Bird Sense

A few weeks ago, in mid-January, I decided we needed a birdfeeder. We had just visited my father-in-law, and his feeders were populated with everything from chickadees to cardinals to woodpeckers to nuthatches. I remembered watching the birds out my parents' window when I was in high school, how I found it joyous and calming to observe the pretty little visitors. It was time to set up our own avian cafeteria.

During my lunch break one day that week, I drove down to the garden store and chose a seed feeder, a suet feeder, and their contents, with the help of the kind of knowledgeable staff best found at locally-run small businesses. My guide to the land of bird feeding advised me that it would take a few days for the little guys to find the feeder, and I shouldn't give up.

That night, I filled the feeders and hung them from the hooks on our balcony rafters. (I also made a mental note to fill the feeders outside next time.) This vantage would give us an excellent view of the birds through our sliding glass door off the kitchen. I fretted a little over squirrels. I imagined eating my breakfast and watching the birds eat theirs.

Despite the clerk's warning, I popped out of bed early the next morning and waited for the birds. None arrived. No squirrels, either. Well, no matter. It takes a few days. I got to work on time for a change.

The next morning, there were still no birds. I sang songs trying to attract them, little ditties with lyrics like, Oh birds, won't you come, and eat off our feeder?/Oh birds, won't you come, what could be neater? That didn't work, so I resumed my usual serenading of the cats. Noah is a good boy/he's kind and soulful/Luna is a crazy cat/she's covered in pixie dust. Pixie dust, naturally, was a euphemism for the dust on her nose after she rolls in her organic wheat cat litter, wish I were making that part up. My favorite ditty, dedicated to Noah, goes
V1: Ca va, messieur?/Ca va, mon chat/Ca va, Alo!/Ca va
V2: Bonjour, messieur!/Bonjour, mon chat/Bonjour, Ca
va?/Bonjour!

The melody is very old-fashioned and would suit a scratchy 45 and a few glasses of red wine with a light supper of crepes.

***
Several days passed, me rising hopefully and ending up disappointed. After a week, I thought maybe they just weren't coming. After two weeks, despair. After three, I sort of forgot about the feeder.

A month after buying the feeder was when the depression set in hard. It had nothing to do with the feeder, everything to do with stress, stress, more stress, car repairs (ca-CHING), a lack of sunlight, lousy cold weather, and feeling dejected, like I would never make a shiatsu practice. We were on the accounting lessons of my business plan class, and I was overwhelmed. And then, my various clients sort of all disappeared at once, reaching the end of their treatment schedules or getting busy. It was clear I would be stuck in working for someone else...forever.

But then an amazing thing happened. As I was working on a list of Ten Things That Make My Business Special, and feeling unable to find any because I'd just been reading Fast Business magazine, which was causing my little practice to seem woefully inadequate...a bird flew by the feeder. He didn't land, just circled a few times to check it out. Then a couple more flew by. They did this for a few days, scoping it out, evaluating the risk level posed by two Not Stealthy cats staring at them, all fangs and eyes, through the glass. (Be subtle, I chastised Luna.) Then, the next day, one landed briefly without eating and took off again. On Monday, a brave black-capped chickadee and a curious tufted titmouse landed and ate a seed each.

Today, there are two chickadees and two tufted titmice landing, eating their hearts out, and chirping merrily. If I'm not mistaken, they seem to enjoy watching us almost as we enjoy watching them. Sometimes they pause and watch me eat my breakfast. It's a little bit funny, us watching each other.

I bet they'll bring their friends. And I'll bet the same thing will happen with my shiatsu practice: it's a matter of time, of people finding it, scoping it out, and then stopping in and sending their friends.

Meantime, the cats are glued to the "TV".

3 Comments:

Anonymous Ann said...

What a lovely tale! Spring's on its way.

If I didn't live halfway across the continent, I'd totally be your client.

3:22 PM  
Blogger Larry Jones said...

This brought a little tear of joy.

The birds will be back, and word of beak will bring their friends, too. You must never disappoint them, never break your promise. Keep the feeder filled, and the cats away. You have entered into a sacred bargain, and you will be enriched by it.

3:25 PM  
Blogger kStyle said...

Ann: glad you enjoyed it. Of course, we've just got winter birds right now, but soon the blue jays, robins, and swallows might join their brethren at the feeder. Spring *is* on the way.

Larry: You sound like a man who knows the joys of hosting birds. I vow to keep my sacred duty.

3:32 PM  

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