(A Journal Entry)
The birds have returned to their nest. They're small birds for a small nest. One is even reorganizing a bit: taking a twig from here and putting it there with deft movements, such as a violinist uses. As the bird pierces the mud-encased sides of the nest, one can see the twig as a bow as it reaches up and down, softly, now sharply, but never playing out of tune. I hope these two birds hovering around will soon settle into their new nest. I thought the birds were bigger last year. Do they know that several other birds, a blackbird and a robin, have been interloping in their nest every once in a while over the wintertime? Perhaps the other birds left an old soup can or a telltale feather behind them, or even disturbed the furniture (hence the reorganizing)?
I don't believe that birds have any more intelligence than a human being, regardless of what bird-analysts say. They just act by nature, as we do. Only we know what we do, and do nothing about it!
We also have another nest. Light-gray (not tin-gray like the other birds) birds have built their nest in a hole in a sawed-off tree branch, two holes actually, top and bottom. They poke their young heads out and peep around, then climb out and stand on the top part of the thick branch, gazing, gazing, once or so flying into the nearby bush. The branch and the bush are both gray, so are the birds: they blend in perfectly. Which leads me to wonder about survival. Did the gray birds gravitate to the gray branches, where they harmonize—or did a color change take place a long time ago in a region where only gray branches abounded, never in full green leaf? If, that is, such a summer-barren place can exist. How did the Maker lead the gray bird to its perfect hiding place in the gray branch?
A blackbird never fits in, anywhere; he has no color harmony, though there is a certain majesty to the sharply black blackbird, as if he knows where he is going, and meantime takes all that he can get in getting there. Blackbirds can be kings, but their social skills are poor. They come only in late winter, scavenging the ground for grass seeds or the branches for young leaf-growth, when all of the other birds are enjoying a holiday, hopping about in the yard.
Two young leaf-shoots have sprouted from the small tree limb: here is the scavenger, head down, pecking, pecking at them, eating them as he goes, destroying what little the late snows have left.
The robin who also comes in late wintertime is a social bird, singing and showing me his gray feathers suddenly a-gleam with red down, a brightening sight for a dull February day. But he's gone for now, and dull-gray, not so fat birds whistle, warble, and worry me all day, as much as the robin delighted me.
The sun on the trees is orange, illuminating each limb. It's a setting sun, going down. All the birds dart about though as if it were just morning; perhaps to them, who reckon no time at all, it is. Sleep and wake, sleep and wake: a cycle that never ends.
A different bird is now on the nest from last year. The first small birds have left the nest outside my bedroom window to this bird. It's blacker and larger, more aggressive than the others. It darts around the nest stabbing at the air, lighting first on a branch, crossing over the nest to another, then diving in, frenetically, finding a straight path down not to its liking. I remember the birds of last year used to hop jovially into the nest. I'm sorry the old owners sold out. These cannot be the same birds, all of them so large and black, whose ferocious aim finds the four-inch nest almost too small for them.
Still the dive-bombers dive and wheel above the nest: no progress as yet in the egg-department. Whoever will sit on that nest to lay the new eggs out of all of these various birds who fly around it (even a red-crested cardinal!) must have royal blood. Where do all the others perch and sleep, I wonder. It's terrible seeing an empty nest, awaiting its eggs. It makes me wonder if the process will go on again this year, or has the nest been abandoned? It's in a good site: for two years now it has remained crouched in the nook of two bent-over branches. Surely it has some good use still?
Even in the heavy rain today, the birds still sang, though not so far afield or loudly. They wheeled about the nest in the lightning, thunder rolling and tumbling behind them. Are they oblivious to the grayness all around them, as they are to the change of light and time of day?
The daffodils have bloomed.
I wish I could put down that the eggs have been laid in the nest, but they have not. The long snows made the birds late.