This year, we’ve fast-forwarded through spring like it’s one of those novelty flip-books — tadpole to frog, cocoon to butterfly — that create such amazing, momentary stop-action animation.
I’m not sure whether to be glad or sorry.
In past years, I could’ve sworn the roses waited a little bit longer to announce themselves — until after school let out, at least. But this year, they’re already twined though the pickets of our front fence, already running riot atop the arbor over the gate.
Spring has left our yard full of small green-gold secret spaces; those roses tumbling in a wave over the arbor have shaped small nooks and crannies — including the perfect spot for the most inefficient mockingbirds in the universe to build their nest.
I’ve been spying on this pair of mockingbirds from the study window for almost two weeks now, and for much of that time it’s been touch and go.
Day One… one twig; much sitting on the telephone wire.
Day Two… a frayed lollipop stick I suspect must’ve been our refuse; much sitting on the telephone wire.
Day Three … Day Five… no sign of them at all.
Such a leisurely approach toward nest-building has left me plenty of time to do what I do best (or at least most compulsively): weave a tiny narrative.
According to bird-experts, it takes most mockingbirds two days to build a nest. Held to such standards, ours are utter dilettantes. Midweek, I started thinking of them as teenagers, with a teenager’s attention span. Their biological destiny had taken them by complete surprise.
By Friday, when about ten days of flying back and forth had produced little more than a scattered pile of pick-up sticks balanced across the top of the arbor, I was afraid they weren’t going to be able to stay the course. I didn’t hold out much hope for any of their offspring, and it wasn’t exactly the nature lesson I wanted illustrated for us whenever we left the house — tiny eggs and yolks smashed on the sidewalk.
But lo and behold! Sometime between Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning they put their birdy shoulders to the wheel and got down to their business.
And what a beautiful business it turns out to be. All those random twigs, now knit together. A slow aggregation that has created something so much more lovely than its humble parts would point to.
A clutch of eggs, securely cupped.
So now, we wait.
And in the meantime, it’s a nice enough message to be greeted with whenever we leavs the house — that in the end, there’s always method to the madness.