Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Birds, Cats and Tender Hearts

Yesterday's post was unusually thoughtful, maybe even a bit sad. I know what the problem is - lack of sleep and constant anxiety. I have been waking up with the birds at 4:30 and staying awake. The only chance I have of getting back to sleep is if both my cats are asleep beside me and I know that they are not outside terrorizing the birds. Our older cat, Huckleberry, seems to have outgrown his desire to hunt and mame innocent creatures but our young kitten, Opal, has already brought in five baby birds this summer. There were three young robins who, with some intervention from me, managed to fly away, seemingly unhurt. Who knows. I don't like to think of the trauma and bite marks did to their life span. The other two were baby chickadees and were very much dead. There is a nest in an unused light socket on my front porch which I thought was a safe spot until I saw Opal jump from the porch railing and dangle from the new light fixture on the wall, jaws snapping at the small hole in the wall. It must have seemed like a snack vending machine to her when baby birds popped their heads out. I immediately nailed a sheet from ceiling to railing preventing her from doing this again and making my porch look like a scruffy children's tenting project.

chickadee vending machine

I know I should just keep the cats inside but they howl at the door and scratch at the windows making me crazy. I am not sure what the answer is in bird nesting season. Valium? It has got to the point that the simple sound of birds makes me anxious. Whenever there is a commotion in the trees outside my studio the squalking of crows, the squeeking of the hummingbirds and the lovely songs of the robins makes my heart race and I rush outside to try to do what...? I don't know.

A lot of gardeners are cat lovers and bird lovers and I wonder if I am not alone in this dilemma. Tender hearted friends of nature: it is a rough world out there. I am sorry pill bugs when I move a plant container and inevitably squish some of you. I am sorry earth worms when I chop you in half with my spade. I am sorry cats when I inexplicably lock you in the house all morning to save birds. I am sorry little birds that I can't save you. Whew. I am exausted and stressed out.

So that explains my anxious comments yesterday about parenthood etc. I love summer but it's wearing me out.

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