Writers complain a lot about distraction and procrastination. It's not just email, Twitter, Facebook, blogging-- it's the window. Yep, the room with a view. Especially in the spring, with birds nesting and flowers blooming. A room of one's own, as Virginia Woolf said, is necessary. But maybe not one with a window. I think it was Annie Dillard who advised to position your desk so you're facing a blank wall.
And so I'm trying not to look up from my laptop and watch the birds. I have a tendency to micro-manage the bird feeder. The bluebirds are nesting, and I feel privileged to have them as guests. I feed them meal worms. I have the live kind you buy from bait shops or pet stores. They come in containers with little holes at the top that say MEAL WORMS, and you keep them in the fridge. [Ever seen the look of a guest after he opens the fridge and sees MEAL WORMS beside his Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio? Try it sometime. It's fun.]
They are sluggish little worms because they're, you know, cold, and if worms had teeth they'd be chattering. Once you take them out of the fridge, and select a doomed few for the birds, you're supposed to keep out the rest for a hours and feed them pieces of apple to keep them alive. Then you put them back in the Tower of London fridge to chill out. With all that feeding and attention, you may end up thinking those invertebrates are pets, too, after a while. They do have their charm, the way they squirm and thrash-- not going gently into that good night, as Dylan Thomas said.
And so I have turned to the dried, crunchy [dead] kind of meal worms that smell like corn chips and dirty feet. You have to soak those in warm water about 15 minutes before your put them out for the bluebirds. The grackles like worms, too. They're aggressive and greedy-- the Wall Street birds. They still have to feed their young'uns, too, so I let them take a few gulps then I shoo them away so the bluebirds can come in and have their fill. We sort of have a routine now: the bluebirds know I bring out the meal worms about ten in the morning. The grackles swoop in, gulp, and I shoo them away, and that's the bluebirds' cue that brunch is served. But I think they might like tea and dinner, too. Need more worms!
Some good news:
The shaggy dog story--see previous post-- has a heart-warming ending. "Wallace" the cute mutt who showed up, homeless but gregarious, in our neighborhood has found a home. After we fed him and fell in love with him, he went missing a few days. After several of us plastered posters everywhere [and found out his previous owner had moved and left Wallace no forwarding address], I got a call from a friendly dog-loving bartender who found Wallace hanging out and flirting with folks in line for a show and took him home. Wallace, who has extremely good dog manners, fell right into the two-dog family and is bathed, and heading to the vet for shots and neutering. There are a lot of dog-loving, kind people out there. Really.
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