is the thing with feathers


tillman just threw up his dinner.  as i peer over to inspect contents before cleaning up (like any good mom), i think “are those feathers?  and a beak?  ugh… and i think that’s the eye.”  confirmed:  another baby bird bites the dust.

it’s springtime here on woodside and the street name rings true as the trees are in full splendor, limbs straddling each side of the avenue.  even my sickly fifty year old oak in the back yard is bustling with vicarious life;  most mornings i sit at the kitchen window, watching all the animals come and go amongst its juxtaposed leafy and barren limbs.  with all of its temporary residences, squabbles and mixed up love affairs, this tree is the melrose place of my backyard.  ok, not just of my backyard, my entire yard.  including the house.    i may or may not have names for the animals that live there… but i shall save that for another day…

this aviary provides countless hours of entertainment for our dogs.  in the winter, the leafless limbs allow them to watch as the nests are built.  in the spring, the chirping, and the hunt, begins.  ferocious hunters that they are, their prey are the baby birds which are shoved from their nest too soon.  several times this week, i’ve watched them take off across the yard and gulp down one of these little fellas the instant they hit the ground.  one of those times, tillman actually tried to get into the house with one still in his mouth.  i saw him pick it up and run towards me so i knew it was in there.  short of having a foot or feather hanging out of his mouth, dude was guilty.  we battled it out on the step for a minute until he finally “dropped it”.  then he picked it right back up and looked at me.  i shut the door in his face until he decided he wanted to come in the house enough to “leave it” outside.  i win.  obviously the bird he caught today, which i am now wiping up, made it farther down the esophagus.

cleaning up this dog barf is the low point of my day.  right now i’m supposed to be at a free outdoor concert.  i love all three of those nouns, but combine them?  it is against everything in me to miss it.  alas, i am tired.  that “my brain is all swimmy in my head tired”.  and i have 2/3 of a paper to write tomorrow.  of course i procrasitnated.  so i’ve hunkered down for the night, committed to going to bed by sundown.

as i take out the pukey-monster trash, i pass by my little garden.  on march 7th i started 12 seedlings each of:  roma tomatoes, basil, cilantro, peppers, broccoli and lavender.  i had medium to great success with all of them, except the lavender.

i knew when i  planted it it the lavender was a luxury.  it was purely for my enjoyment.  i love lavender.  shower gel:  lavender.  lotion:  lavender.  drawer sachets:  lavender.  dryer sheets: lavender.  i discovered it my freshman year of college, when the girl next door to me had a lavender eye pillow.  i remember we would stay up late in her room analyzing bob dylan albums and audrey hepburn movies.  i’d sit in her papasan chair with her lavender pillow.  we laughed, we cried.  it turned out later that she was a little bit crazy… still, good times.  come to find out, my nanny (grandmother) also loves lavender.  so, maybe it’s genetic and i was always meant to love it.

now these little seedlings.  i started them before the danger of frost was over.  so, they were wrapped in plastic, carted out of the house for warm sunshine and in during cold rain.  it was so exciting to see their little sprouts pop up one by one by one.  except the lavender.  for weeks this went on.  i had 95% germination rate with everything but the lavender.  so, i rechecked the seed packet and found it had a germination time of up to 28 days.  so, i keep caring for them… water, sun, protection until i transplanted the rest of my seedlings to their permanent home.  this was two weeks ago, a full 68 days since planting.  i discarded all 12 lifeless lavender pods into the compost rubble of remains.  disappointed, but comforted by the fact they weren’t providing any food anyway.  they were my splurge.  a bonus.  my neighbor has a huge lavender plant that hangs over my driveway, i can just cut some of hers when i’d like to.  thankful for what i have.  moving on.

so, as i’m taking out the trash tonight, a little green sprout in this heap of remains catches my eye:

there he is:

a lavender seedling.

toppled over, shoved askew and growing strong.  and not just one… but at least 4 others in the heap.

i cared so much for these silly little things.  why in the world would they only grow once discarded in a rubbage pile?  why the moment i tossed them aside, neglect them, give up did they finally decide they were ready to greet me? why was i still letting that bin of dirt sit in my driveway- why hadn’t i thrown it away?  and if i was really “ok” with them not sprouting, why in the world am i teary eyed now?



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