“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”
— Charles Dickens
It was a day that required boots and jackets when my oldest grandson, 4, called to tell me he needed to show me something. Walking down the lane at his house, Brooks pointed to the tiniest little green sprout poking up through the dark soil.
“This is going to be a flower. Don’t step on it. If you step on it, it’s going to make me kind of mad.”
This sincere little fellow went on to explain to me the entire process of planting bunches and bunches of flowers with his daddy, a long time ago, before it ever snowed. All we have to do now is wait for warm, sunny days and then there will be so many flowers we won’t be able to count them all, no matter how hard we try!
His enthusiasm was so great that his words were tripping over themselves as we found more sprouts, the promise of blooming beauty ahead. And I promise, I did not step on a single one.
When I returned home that breezy day, a list of things needing done running through my head, a house wren hopped across my back porch, singing loudly.
I stepped out on the porch, expecting the wren to take flight, and was surprised instead that it continued chirping loudly to me, claiming the porch rail as its stage. Its performance evolved into a theatrical production that could not be ignored.
All last summer, a house wren seemed to take up residence near our swimming pool, chirping at us as we swam. Kids and adults alike could walk near that bird and it clearly was not startled by our presence, though at times its song sounded a bit like a scolding lecture.
The round, brown wren alternated between a bubbling bird bath and a spot beneath the diving board, claimed as its own. By September, the pool was covered and the wren was gone.
As I shook out a couple of rugs, I couldn’t help but think this chatty, bitty bird on my back porch seemed very familiar.
Once a year
I ran across a quote by Richard Gallienne that fit all too well.
“I meant to do my work today but a brown bird sang in the apple tree, and a butterfly flitted across the field, and all the leaves were calling me,” he writes.
That to-do list was barely shortened, but the first day of spring only comes once a year. Enthusiastic little grandsons grow all too quickly and have more important people to host out in the world. Blink twice and the 4-year-old who once held the hand of his adoring grandmother on a morning walk is suddenly celebrating 14 candles on a cake before dashing out the door with friends.
And maybe tomorrow, the whistling wren will serenade someone else. That list will keep.
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