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...where life is slow, and ripe with rural treasures

Friday, May 25, 2012

Of Birds and Girls and Wiser Women

Starlings have built a nest in the eaves outside my kitchen window. I've owned this house for nine years, and for nine years there's been a starling nest in the same spot. I know I'm not supposed to like starlings. They're mean, invasive birds I'm told by people who profess to know such things. But I can't help myself. Every morning mom (or dad) starling stands on the corner of my back roof with a mouthful of worm, scoping out the property before diving under the roofline to the screeches of hatchlings. There is guano staining the side of my house, about which I'm also supposed to care. I don't though. After the babies have flown away I'll get out the hose and wash it off. For the moment, I'm enchanted by the hungry chirping.

I took a drive today through my "old stomping ground," Earlville...where I grew up. I drove up Castle Hill and down, took a hard left and cruised over the next ridge overlooking a beautiful valley now finally filled with spring. I remember soaring down this hill on a bicycle once, when I was twelve or thirteen and visiting my friend Jennifer. My long hair sailed behind me, feet off the pedals, flying down a country road in a way that would surely have made my mother blanche. There are sheep everywhere now, and new houses, where then homes were few and far between. My old Castle Hill friend Jennifer and another, Teresa, are visiting this weekend. We're having a pajama party, long-ago girls now in their fifties. There has been much death here lately. Important elders leaving us for whatever is next. My friends and I have agreed that we must stop the clock, set aside busy lives to don soft nightgowns and curl on sofas to catch up and remember how we love each other, knowing at last that time is so fleeting. We are wise to sense this, and relieved that friendships can last so long. I have known Teresa forty-plus years; Jennifer and I met in kindergarten, five decades ago. Their faces -- like mine -- are older but strangely the same. We scattered apart, into law and teaching and Long Island writing. Yet when I see them no time has passed. On Saturday young girls will be on couches. Laughing. Remembering. Thankful.

I can't chase the birds away, can't board up the eve to prevent future nesting, and will be somehow sad when the odious starlings are gone. This morning I found an empty blue egg on the slate below and hoped the baby escaped my cats, hoped the cracked shell was a sign that life goes on. It is not such trouble to wash off the guano, and to repaint if need be. When I make my coffee near the window of the nest, I ponder, and hope the egg's grown starling will return next spring, different but strangely familiar. Wiser. And home again.

10,000 Miles, Mary Chapin Carpenter


Dame's Rocket said...

When you get right down to it, every living thing is, or once was, an invasive species.

Kathleen Yasas said...

I guess that's true.

Connie said...

You may have found a starling's egg, which is also blue and looks almost exactly like a robin's except it's a little smaller and less shiny.

Kathleen Yasas said...

Yes, it was a starling egg. I looked it up on trusty google.

Barb said...

Funny you should mention this. We have a new tenant (a robin) in our trumpet vine. The vine came from your house where it grew up and around the porch outside the kitchen. Grandpa picked up 3 generations of children to show them eggs and then baby birds hidden among the leaves.

Kathleen Yasas said...

Barb: Life does in fact go on, doesn't it? I love it that life from this house is now at your house. And speaking of that trumpet vine, many a time it's been that the thing has crawled into my house under the door, through the screens, into the basement. Reminds me a bit of Little Shop of Horrors as I go out there and hack it back, not that doing so helps.

About Me

Newspaper columnist; blogger; author of Delta Dead; author of 101 Tip$ From My Depression-Era Parents; author of Australian Fly; editor: ...And I Breathed (author, Jason Garner, former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation), "A History of the Lawrence S. Donaldson Residence"; "The Port Washington Yacht Club: A Centennial Perspective"; "The Northeastern Society of Periodontists: The First Fifty Years"; editor: NESP Bulletin; editor: PWYC Mainsail; past editorial director: The International Journal of Fertility & Women's Medicine; past editor of: Long Island Power & Sail, Respiratory Review; Medical Travelers' Advisory; School Nurse News; Clear Images; Periodontal Clinical Investigations; Community Nurse Forum