I have the curtains drawn in my man-cave window which is kind of a pain because I’m used to sitting here at the computer each morning with a clear view as I continue to look for a flash of red in the crab apple tree just outside. But I haven’t laid an eye on that bird in months.
Sadly, as I suspected, the excitement of seeing a cardinal appear on demand last August as a sign from my dead brother, has faded with the passage of time. The logical me is leaning now more towards coincidence than miracle.
But that’s not the reason I’ve chosen to darken my surroundings. It does, however, have something to do with me and another of God’s fine feathered creatures.
First, some background.
We’re still paying the price for that ice storm that hit a year ago last April; fracturing so many fine trees in town including our two maples. The one in our front yard was damaged so severely we probably should have just chopped it down. But we didn’t have the heart to see it go so instead, we paid a sizeable sum to have it trimmed to look as presentable as possible which isn’t much. In fact, the tree was so weakened by the storm we expect..and usually do…find a branch or two of various sizes on the front yard after every strong gust of wind.
Well, Miss Maple gave up a doozy the other night. It was all this old fat guy could do to drag it over to the drive-way where it needed to be cut into smaller pieces for the garbage man to accept.
Now, I have a garage full of useless tools including my dad’s old hand saw which is as dull as a set of dollar store steak knives. I also have a saw with a half-moon shaped blade bought at one of the marts for this very purpose. But the teeth are so ragged only a pumped-up lumber jack could muster the strength to just get a cut started much less saw all the way through.
So..what to do? Our friend, Alona.. just up the street.. has a plug-in chain saw she’s been offering to let me use for years. Says it’s a piece of cake to operate..and she makes this statement knowing my history with most anything mechanical and penchant for turning easy jobs into hard ones; often inducing life and death situations. I.e.: screwdriver into live electrical outlet to remove broken plug pin. But, I did agree to a quick lesson and headed home with her little buzz saw in the backseat ready to make chips fly where they may.
Alona did have one condition; Linda had to be present during its operation to call 911 in the not-so-remote possibility that I run the chain up my leg opening an important artery.
That didn’t happen and I made quick work of the fallen branch. Next it was on to a lilac tree that has gotten out of control with prickly little limbs low enough to make me duck and curse every time I mow. I needed to round up enough power cords to make the saw reach but once there those gnarly sprigs were in a pile and no longer a threat to poke an eye out.
That left just one job yet to complete. The crab apple tree. It too has grown spiny branches straight downward that have become a pain to walk under and I was anxious to rid myself of them with this marvelous machine. But as I rounded the corner I let out an “aw s–t” under my breath. I had forgotten that one of the most offending branches contained a nest I’ve been watching this robin building for weeks and weeks.
It’s been quite entertaining to see her tirelessly bringing twigs and other stuff to the work site..cramming it into place..then heading off for more. There have been other birds up there too. I’m not sure if they’re helping or just a bunch of sidewalk superintendents.
I was curious one day last month and decided to try sneak a peek.
I sure don’t want to mess up all her hard work, I said to myself. But I sure want this tree trimmed.
I’ll just clip ahead of it.
The wood of this tree is apparently a lot harder than the others because instead of a clean easy snip, the chain just churned against the branch shaking it violently. The next thing I know, the nest is on the ground.
Oh, great..what do I do now?
Well, I managed to coax the saw through all of the other offending low limbs then returned to the fallen nest and wedged it back into the notch from whence it came..certain, of course, that the stories we’ve always heard are true about the how wild things will never return to something soiled by the scent and touch of man.
Well, I thought, I’m sorry to be a home wrecker just for my convenience but at least nobody had moved in yet.
Linda had been watering plants during all this drama and came over to check for any signs of blood on me and to help haul branches to the boulevard. That’s when she looked down and noticed what I hadn’t seen earlier.
It continued as she made the short flight to a wire just over my head until I went inside..sat down at my desk, pulled the shade and felt like sobbing.
Oh, come on Lund..what a wuss. Do you know how few baby robins actually survive to Fall? Not many. You can look it up. You believe birds think? They’re bird brains. Good instincts..pretty to look at..but bird brains.
I know that, of course, but it was my callous impatience that ended any shot this one ever had of taking wing, being the first someone spots to welcome spring or perhaps providing entertainment for some other old fart watching from his window.