Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Simple Things

We've got a blackbird family that has adopted us.  Very social birds.  Last year they were friendly, especially the male, and got so they would take raisins from our hands.  He perches on the sliding glass door handle in the morning peeping at us until we open up and give him breakfast.  This year they raised a family in a juniper tree just outside the door in the garden.  We felt quite privileged, actually, and followed their progress, trying to guess what was going on up in that tree.  I got to recognize his distress call when a cat was in the yard and would go out and save the day, shooing the cat away  The kids are gone, and both of the adults are molting.  Tatty looking things with bare patches, old feathers gone, new ones sticking up at odd angles, and they've both lost their tail feathers so look almost silly.

Today I was sitting out in the sun (yes, the sun has finally come out) reading when I heard his familiar peep-peep.  He came right up in front of me, a foot or so away, and peep-peeped at me to get him some raisins.  This was out of his comfort zone, me on the ground in a chair, so I scattered the raisins on the concrete in front of me.  He came close, backed off, came close, backed off, all the while peeping at me with what could only be a questioning tone to his peeping.  Could he trust me?  I must have looked very different sitting at ground level with him than I do sticking my hand out to the rail with raisins in it.  Could I possibly be the same person he was used to?  Peep-peep?  Peep-peep?  He rushed in and took one, then two, then three, finally taking five raisins in his mad dashes close to my feet.  He then waddled (these birds waddle, I don't know what else to call it) off to peep-peep at me from six feet away, then flew off.  I like to think that was a thank you.   

Will he be here next year?  Who knows.  The oldest one recorded was 20 years old, the average is 3.4 years.  Will we be here next year?  Who knows.  Sometimes it takes one of the simple things in life to teach you that today is what we've got and tomorrow is a big who knows.  So dash in and get the raisins while you can. 

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