Around here, the skies are flannel and pursed. We can wear sweaters and scarves, for once, as we bring in our trash barrels from alleys.
Pulling in the second recycling barrel, enjoying the feel of my silly polka-dot rain boots I never get to wear, I thought I heard hints of that flock of wild parrots winging by our house at any old time, flapping crazily, all members screeching competitively. Odd, I thought. Sounds like 1 parrot, not a flock, why not a flock, they’re always—huh.
As I tugged the barrel across the lawn, something clicked in my brain: Distress. And I looked up just in time to see a hawk leaving our potato vine tree thing, not a wild parrot (or a small child, if you’ve been viewing that FB clip of the golden eagle attempting to make off with the babe), but a house finch in its talons.
I flashed on, A Cry In The Dark, Thumbelina, Frodo and Sam (even though that was a good abduction). And I yelled.
We have three trees candlesticking our front yard. They are taller than the house and their branches expound, are elegant flourishes accentuated by berries (small, black, catch-in-your-hair berries). A colony of house finches lives in these trees. Around 6am they start talking and an hour or so later move to the back yard and the potato vine trees things. When it’s twilight, they form a cloud and return to the front yard trees. You can time them. They are predictable. There are hundreds of them. So no wonder the hawk picked us.
But I am not rational when it comes to Mother Nature’s scythe of death.
I ran to the potato vine tree thing with a gibberish shout representing outrage. A sense of possession overwhelmed me–my finches, my finches!I scanned the treetops visible beyond our yard’s wall. If I had seen the hawk in a distant tree with the house finch, what would I have done? Called 911? Set out on foot? Ordered the thief to return my finch? AWOFGLOJHAK! I sputtered, wild with rage, and my preschooler came outside in his socks, clutching his blue apatosaurus. What’s wrong, Mama?
1 silly polka-dot rain boot was coming off. My hands were muddy from tripping when I ran to the tree. My fist was raised at the sky. I saw myself. With humbling clarity.
PB, I thought. You forget yourself. I’m—weeding. Darn weeds! They aren’t good for our grass. Ha ha! Weeds. Go away weeds. I brushed myself off and turned to my son. What’s up, Lovecup? I said.
He squinted at me as though I was vanishing and scratched his bottom. Is it dinnertime yet? he asked. Yes, I said enthusiastically, marching to him with a limp and a huge smile on my face to distract him from my dislodged rainboot. Let’s eat!