There is a bird outside my window in the mornings this spring that sounds like the screaming strings in the movie Psycho. It's the exact same pitch. Exact same cadence. Graciously, the bird vocalizes more intermittently than the strings in the movie sound track. And he usually stops before I get up to take my shower. That is a great mercy.
At other times, other seasons, there has been a bird that would cry out "Pretty, pretty, pretty," repeatedly. I chose to take this personally and accept the bird's estimation of me. What better way to wake up in the morning than to have someone insist that you are pretty, pretty, pretty, even with mussy hair and pillow-case creases along your cheeks.
No matter what they screech or sing at me, I am honored to welcome them into my garden, and I am blessed to provide what I can for them. The Garden Birds seem to expect their due, picking through seeds in the bird feeder like a shopper at a Black Friday sale, swinging hard on the suet holder until it crashes down and they can all pick at the crumbs on the bench, even swinging at our bedroom window to give it a good sharp knock when the feeder is empty. Yet they flee when I approach. Deep down I feel they must know I'm their provider, or at least deeply involved in their provision. They must see me working--no toiling--in the garden to create a green haven with abundant perches, a variety of snacks, and a fresh source of water. Nonetheless, they still don't trust me, and I fear my dream of living like Cinderella in a Disney film, with birds, squirrels, bunnies, et al garlanding me and singing harmony to my morning praises will never come to pass.
I have a choice to clench my hands on my hips and tap my foot and accuse these little ones of ingratitude, or I can keep giving, and take joy in their enjoyment. I choose the latter. I still tsk at their selfishness, as they chase each other off the feeders or out of the water, but laugh, too, at these displays of very human-like characteristics. I love that they can be themselves in my presence and just make themselves at home, and reflect the nature of life in the world.
But I still choose which bird I listen to in the morning, not taking seriously the one that screeches and momentarily puts me off my shower, but listening rather to the one that calls me pretty, and insists it is so. It sets a better tone for the day...
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