April 1, 2018

April 1, 2018 – Easter Sunday

It is a noisy morning in the backyard this first day of April, this Easter Sunday – doves cooing, grackles whistling and bluejays squawking.  Wednesday’s rain has left the ground soft and revived the grass.  A grackle perches on the sunflower seed feeder; he shimmies down the cage and pokes his long black beak in between the grate squares, black feathers shiny in morning light.  The feeder empties quickly these days; every other day it has to be filled.  The thistle socks have been pillaged by squirrels, torn and bitten through.  One sock fell to the ground, its hanger chewed through.  Now the squirrels hang upside down on any feeder they can manage, reaching in with tiny paw and grabbing seed from the trays.

Thursday morning a baby squirrel took refuge from Wednesday night’s storm in the little birdhouse on the back fence.  The entrance was chewed out to enlarge the entrance.  He curled up into a tight ball so that only the feathery hairs of his tail were visible, waving slightly as he breathed.  One tiny ear appeared, almost lost in a puzzle of brown and gray fur.  That house has been home to wrens and I can’t say what else over the years, and now a little squirrel.

The amaryllis is in full bloom with deep red flowers and on the arroyo wild honeysuckle and primroses spread pale pink blankets along its banks.  Late at night the screech owl trills, sometimes from the east side of the house, sometimes from I don’t know where.  I have not checked the camera in a few days; I hate seeing the empty floor of the box, still littered with feathers.

Tim’s owl sits on her four eggs diligently.  In the evening she waits impatiently for her mate to return twisting her head, staring up with shining yellow eyes.  Sometimes her mate brings her a moth or a bug, but more often she hops into the entrance and leaves the box for a few minutes to feed or get a drink in the birdbath.  Perhaps he is feeding her outside the box or leaving a bird somewhere for her to feed on.

This is my last Easter in this house.  The thought stuns and saddens me.  So many memories of dogs and cats and birds stored on a little square of land in a small simple house.  I wonder if the birds and squirrels and possums will miss me when I’m gone.  I wonder if the next resident will love this place as I have.

Christine Baleshta


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