Flowers and Flying Lessons
Spring has sprung. Well, here in Albuquerque there was never really a winter, leastwise not the sort of winter I’m used to; wet, cold, dark. Here it got cold but it was a dry cold and not so hard on the old bones. And the Sun! This is the first winter I’ve ever spent without being depressed out of my mind. Places like Albuquerque could make a real dent in the profits of pharmaceutical companies that spew out anti-depressants like M&Ms.
The place I moved into is out in the North Valley. This used to be all farm land but, as Albuquerque has been ‘discovered’, the farms are disappearing faster then you can say “Westward Ho the White Folks!”. The Place isn’t bad for a temporary stop and I do like the neighborhood. It’s kind of funky; a mix of eccentric, dirt poor and filthy rich. This is a part of town where a beat up, sun-bleached Pinto sits on blocks next to a house where million dollar thoroughbreds roam the immense grounds which sits next to a house with the weirdest metal sculptures rusting in the yard. Los Ranchos de Albuquerque.
The Place is a large, rectangular house with a yard big enough to own a cow or a small horse or an Alpaca or two if I could convince the landlord to go for such a thing. And if I had any intention of staying in this house, which I don’t.
When I moved here last year, there were these old roses, in the ground thirty, forty years, that no one had tended to in probably half that time. They were wretched, weed chocked, spindly things with scarcely a bloom much larger around then a dime, the pedals so scrunched together you could hear them groaning at night from the strain. I cut them all back to ground level in mid-winter, filling about fifty peat pots with cuttings. All the cuttings survived and are flourishing and the roses in the ground are blooming like mad; huge, fat, pink blossoms with a scent that is nearly orgiastic in nature.
Around the yard I have hung bird and hummingbird feeders of all shapes and sizes. Sitting outside, as I am now, is like sitting in the middle of an aviary. There must be a bajillion hummingbirds about and birds of every color imaginable. The eaves around the house have become a bird condo. The cacophony of chirping in the morning wakes me. An altogether pleasant way to awaken, I might add. Certainly better then an alarm clock.
The other day, while trying to work on my WIP, which is almost finished at last, I noticed one of my cats paying undo attention to the rose bushes beneath my bedroom window. The birds in the tree nearby were putting up quite a fuss, but they usually do when the cats are out so I hadn’t paid them much attention. In this case, though, with the cat actively trying to get into those thorny bushes, I figured something was up. Sure enough, upon inspection, there in the midst of the thorns sat a baby starling.
A quick rescue ensued followed by a several calls to the bird rescue hotline. I have to say that the bird rescue hotline here in Albuquerque has made good use of voice tree technology, the kind of thing that usually frustrates you when what you want is an answer and what you get is some idiot voice directing you in every direction but the one you need to go in. In this case: “If you’ve found a baby bird, hit 2”. Wow. What a concept.
So, after imprisoning the cats, I spent the better part of the day perching precariously on a fence pole, all the while being dive-bombed by dad, and trying to put the baby back in the eaves only to watch him flutter back into the rose bushes. Finally, I guess I managed to actually get him in the nest since I have seen hide nor hair of him since. I know he’s still up there, though, as I can hear him whenever mom or dad make a feeding run.
I figure that any day now, he, and all the other baby birds living in the eaves, will begin their flying lessons. I hope the lessons are brief ones as I think the predators sense this too. My cats have taken to staring wistfully up at the eaves and the yard is suddenly full of Roadrunners who would not be adverse to adding baby bird to their regular diet of bugs and lizards.
All things considered, I suppose I should get back to my WIP while I still can. I have a feeling that in a couple of days I’m going to be quite busy with ground control.