We are a house of birds. All spring and summer a family of starlings made their home outside a window, up in a hole under the eaves where a soffit fell out. They’d fly to and fro with worms for their chicks, disappearing and reappearing from in and out the hole. Later they’d hop out onto the cedar closeby and young starlings would make their first flights, cedar to tulip poplar and back again. The cedar housed a hornets nest, bald faced, one year; but we are a birdhouse not a hornet house and so they stayed in nest beneath the boughs even when the windows were open. A few sparrows have visited through those windows, they pecked at the kitchen floor before finding their way back outside, eventually. Once a bat flew in, giving rise to pandemonium. Unlike sparrows, who are welcome in our birdhouse, bats are not . . . the thought of a bat flying about at night, landing on my head, or worse, what if they went into my ear while I slept? My great-grandmother told that they folded up real tiny and enjoyed getting into one’s ears, though she also told that they’d get into hair and pull strands around themselves into a coccoon, Eeee! We got the bat out with the use of sheets, and kept the windows closed at nights after that . . . now the starling abode is home to juncos, they’ve moved in for the winter, starlings long gone. Winter’s arrived with snow and chickadees with shiny black heads, nuthatches, and cardinals. They seem to like it here when it’s cold. Up in the apple trees they peck at fruit, as well as usnea and lichen on the branches. In the garden, they gather and peck at all the flower stalks we leave till spring comes around, zinnias, dock, marshmallow, goldenrod, echinacea. We are a house of birds, imbibing as birds.
Questions questions, often when left unanswered the children will either repeat the question, indicating they do indeed want me to give a response, or they’ll reply themselves . . . like today, while on an evening walk in snow, Jasper asks, Where does snow come from Mama?
We walk, he doesn’t repeat his query. After a while he stops, are these star babies? and we’re off imagining star babies and sparkles and snow, chatting while walking, pausing to scrape and shape, lick snow off pine needles and rose leaves, moving again to stand under trees flinging clumps at us, running after Clover, then he states, but it melts, see; he eats a bit and shows me . . . now what happens to the star babies Mama? Away we go through snow, to the bottom of the driveway, there’s footprints, trolls? sketis? bears? old man winter? On the way back the sky is clearing, sun sending glow to the opposite side of its descent. We walk creekside where we pause, Jasper says, The star babies melt and move to the creek, that’s where they live! He’s storied his own question, fresh as snow.
Once upon a time, there was a boy who saw possibility in everything around him, imagining worlds with words untouched by information. He grew and grew, limbs stretching up, arms dangling down, limber and tall with a mop of hair that served as a hat. Though information came to him with time, he knew that word and world were linked, born like star babies from inner realms touching outer. He knew too that encyclopedias came to be born from the imaginings of mankind, the information in them once possibility that was explored before being bound and compounded, a reflection of human gleanings, outdated and updated as the world and word whirled around the wheels of years. The boy grew to swim in waters born of stars while wandering the world of many waters and streams. Now, what does a man do who’s swum in and drunk of starwater, speaks with stars? It’s bedtime at the birdhouse, so I’ll be rounding up my flock with an assortment of bird calls high and low (possibly the sketi or bear may let out a growl or two). Bidding you good night. ☃️