Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Little Birdie Told Me

     As I was cleaning our family room, this little bird banged into the french doors and fell onto the deck. She was obviously stunned, and I thought she might have broken a wing or even her neck. I went outside to check on her but all she could do was blink at me. So I sat down to keep her company while she recovered.

     We talked of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings, and why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings. The conversation seemed to perk her up and before long she was turning her head to look at me. "Silly Nib," she seemed to be saying, "I've never met a pig who could fly." So that settles it: pigs definitely do not have wings. Birds, especially the little ones, always seem to know what's up. Not long after our chat she flew off, but I didn't catch her name. After digging around on Google for awhile, I found some of her kin. She is an immature chestnut sided warbler.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Living Cheek by Jowl

     One day, as I was weeding and trimming in the back garden, I put a rock on the corner of the deck to move round to the front of the house later and forgot about it. Now I can't bear to move it. Most days this little chipmunk comes to chirp with the birds, chatter to the sunlight or scold the wind. Sometimes he brings a snack and makes a picnic of it. I suppose he is the same cheeky fellow who bites into my half-ripe tomatoes clinging to the sagging vines and leaves the rest to rot on the ground. Grrrrr. But I so enjoy his company that I forgive him his greed.

     And besides, we should all learn to share...

Saturday, September 13, 2014


     I used to be a tomboy. I used to climb a lot of trees: the cherry tree in our front yard, the slough-skinned madronas in the woods above Deadman's Hill, the sky-high firs behind my uncle’s creekside home that swayed with my weight and the wind. When I wished upon a star, I wished for a green plastic army helmet and pistol to play commando with the boys, and my wish came true. I used to fish tadpoles from the swampy waters of Snake Lake and hold frogs with my bare hands in order to prove to my brothers that I was tough enough to tag along with them.

     I even captured a two-foot-long snake at the city dump to bring home as a pet. I carried it around by the tail and made my sisters squeal. It was probably a harmless snake, but it escaped one day from the makeshift terrarium I had built for it in the backyard. The next-door neighbor kids, newly arrived from a southern state and thinking it might be poisonous, crushed it with a rock. I feigned dismay, but was secretly glad to be free of the pretense. Ugh. Snakes. No quantity of tomboyishness could make me truly like them.

     While I built forts in the woods and played kick-the-can on summer nights, I also dreamed of pretty dresses, devoured fairy stories and played with dolls. And I never liked sports.

     Then I grew up, grew out of being a tomboy and into make-up and high heels. I floundered into flirting and dating. I enjoyed being a girl. I still like pretty dresses and being a girl even though most days you will find me wearing tee shirts and jeans, but the tomboy is still there, undaunted by the painted toenails, curling iron and silk scarves. I know it hasn't disappeared altogether, because even though I have lost my limber, I still dream of climbing trees.

Girl climbing tree by AlidaBothmaArt on Etsy

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


     When Girlybird spent the night at Grandpa's and Grandma's house the weekend before the summer ended and school began...

she helped Grandpa wash the car...

made bubbles with Grandma...

and then chased them.

At least the ones she could reach.

     So many things have changed since I was a child, just as they had changed from my own grandmother's childhood. Nevertheless, some things are timeless. Perhaps the children of the future will be washing Grandpa's airship and chasing bubbles through the stratosphere.