Sunday, May 9, 2010

Avian Acrobatics

~~The cherries are nearly ripe and Mother's Day is here. We can't help but wonder if our avian acrobatic troup is about to appear. Let's be fair, though. We've only seen them once. On Mother's Day 2008, we looked out the solarium windows and found our Yoshino Cherry trees buzzing with wings. Small birds were going in and out. We had never seen them before and had to look them up. They were eating the tiny cherries that our trees create every spring after their glorious blooms are spent. Ornamental trees often produce small fruit that birds and squirrels eat. Our trees are no different. The event inspired a scene for my novel in progress, Mother's Day. The point of view is my main character, Laura Grace Chandler. The child is Samantha, her newly adopted daughter. I hope you enjoy it. ; )



I jumped at the sink and water showered my chest not my face. What could be so important this morning? Grabbing the towel, I went to investigate.

“You’ve got to see this!” Her excited voice drew me to the bay window of the living room. Raucous calls of “zeee” rose from fluttering birds in the Yoshino cherry tree on the other side of the deck.

“Oh my.”

“There’s hundreds of ‘em!” Samantha stared, mouth open, as the birds fluttered among the leaves. Acrobatic feats of flying rewarded them with choice, ripe cherries.

“Get the Peterson’s Guide.” My hand rose to my heart. “I can’t believe this, but I believe they're cedar waxwings."

She bounced back and handed me the book. “Waxwings?”

I flipped the pages. “Let’s see. ‘Crested brown bird. Yellow band at tail tip.’ Yes.”

“Look at the wings.” She pointed. “Looks like red Christmas candle wax on ‘em.”

“Guess that’s where they got their name, don’t you? I’ve heard of them all my life, but I’ve never seen one.”

Samantha ran back to the bookshelf and grabbed a book on North American birds. She giggled. “It says sometimes they get drunk if the fruit’s fermented. Calls them ‘tipsy birds.’”

“That would make flying difficult, I imagine.” I laughed. The delight of the birds' antics warmed my heart. “I think they’re tanking up to fly north to their mating range.” I looked back at the field guide. “Yes. Here’s the map.”

“It says they have to sober up to fly again. That’s just weird!” She stared at the birds again. “Wonder how long it will take for them to eat all the cherries?”

“Not long at this rate.” I glanced at the clock. “Oh, Samantha! We have to hurry. The Mother’s Day service won’t wait on us.” I grinned. This was a special day. It was my first Mother’s Day since I had become Samantha’s legal mother.

“Okay. I just got to dress. Then I’ll watch the birds till you’re ready.”

She skipped down the hall in front of me. Thank you, Lord, for the gifts of this day. Samantha’s mine and cedar waxwings to entertain us. I grinned at my reflection. “I don’t deserve this. I’m so happy,” I whispered to the wrinkled face, wreathed in smile lines. As I grabbed my purse, I heard Samantha singing. The child was a happy as I was.

“Momma, I just can’t imagine a tipsy bird staggering on the deck. Bet it’d be as funny as Dale stumbling around when Craig let him drink beer.”

I stopped. Closing my eyes a moment with my hand clinched, I felt my heart thud. Would Samantha ever escape that horror? I took a deep breath. “Let’s go, angel. We’re late.”


~~Happy Mother's Day to all of you. May your day be filled with delights of family and nature!