These are tough days, and it’s not good to spend too much time in your own head. It’s loud and cranky in there, and your internal political oratory is only slicing minutes off your life, to no obvious benefit. The best way to get out of your own head is to spend time in someone else’s. It’s springtime, and it’s time to get your Gladys Kravitz on.
Your kids all know who Gladys Kravitz is. There’s plenty of Legacy Television to watch instead of playing outside; but for you old folks out there who can’t quite come up with names anymore, Gladys Kravitz is the nosy neighbor who was always spying on the Stephens family in Bewitched. She probably had a good idea about Darrin’s sexual orientation before it came out in the general press.
But don’t waste your Gladys on the neighbors. Snoop on the birds instead. They’re randy as the dickens right now. The males are spiffed to the nines and singing their hearts out. They’re hoping the same lines that worked last year will work this year too, and they probably will. The females are completely on board, but they’re playing it coy, hoping to get a few dinners out of the deal. You can see all of this easily enough if you just look. Love is in the air, and new birds are in the pipeline.
Our chickadees, Marge and Studley Windowson, are back this spring looking into the rental box outside my window. I just saw a pair of ruby-crowned kinglets nearby and got all excited that they’d be interested, even though it turns out they don’t use boxes, but they didn’t stand a chance anyway. Studley ran their asses right off, or maybe it was Marge. There’s nothing our chickadees like better than picking on something smaller than them, like bushtits or kinglets. It makes them all puffy in the chest. They leave hummingbirds alone because they’re too mean and pointy to take on.
We need new birds. There aren’t near as many as there ought to be, since we persist in poisoning our gardens and ripping out stuff they like to eat and sending out death squads of darling killer cats and putting in windows that look like sky. In spite of all this there are birds. And right about now, they’re all working real hard to make even more birds, and they’ll let you watch.
They won’t necessarily show you their nests. That’s a secret. You’ll have to get lucky, by following a bird with nesting materials. Crows are easy. They’re flat-out carrying lumber. But I’m still hoping to score a bushtit nest this year. Bushtits are very plural. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen twenty. They make a brief show of pairing off this time of year and starting in on their nests, but invariably they say what the hell and invite the whole crew in once they’re done knitting it. It’s a sock. A big stretchy bouncy sock with bedrooms all full of fuzzy little tits. That’ll get you out of your head, or you ain’t right.
Don’t worry about how you look. Yes, you’re staring into the sky, and your mouth has gone slack, and there might be a little drool, and you look like one of those people waiting for the Rapture. But you’re nothing like them. They suffer from more certainty, and less reward.
[…and then there’s THIS. I’m going out on a limb with my little friend here and calling her an American goldfinch, and I don’t know what the heck she’s doing, but she totally let me watch. Ah, spring.]