It is 6:59 a.m. and I am sitting on my front porch watching birds. Annie, my four-year-old, is still sound asleep. I'll admit. She sleeps in late everyday. Most days I have to wake her at about 9:00 a.m. But if you have a child, please don't be jealous. In her waking hours she runs laps across parks and fields for fun. Then she does it again and again. Then she doesn't nap. She doesn't even honor "quiet time." Instead, she sings at the top of her lungs in character voices. Strange characters that she has made up. Then, when quiet time is over, she runs more laps. And she always, always wants me to run with her. And I do. Because I don't have a desire to produce a sibling for her to run with. So I run more laps out of guilt that she's not going to get a real-life-sister-in-a-cage for Christmas like she really wants. And I dance. And sing in character voices and then run some more.
And she unfolds this way with gusto, passion and slightly creepy superhuman energy each and every day. She is a freak of nature.
So don't be envious that she is still asleep. Soon she will wake. The giant will awaken from her slumber.
Until then- I sit and cherish the silly, mindlessness of watching the birds in the trees directly across from my front porch.
There are millions of birds, if not hundreds, who live in these trees. I know. Because they wake me up every morning. Whoever the ring leader is, he starts his yapping each morning around 4:00 a.m. when it is still dark and still night time. By 5:45 a.m. they are in full swing.
*Side note: My new neighbor just walked out and got in his car with a metal Star Wars lunch pail. There is no kid in sight. Please tell me this isn't a thing grown men do? Is it?
There are three birds who are clearly in love with each other. They bicker and fly around each other and chase one another. There is definitely some tension between two of the birds. They are clearly both chasing the other bird. And the other bird (it has to be a sassy pants girls) is clearly enjoying leading them on a chase. She is not making it easy for them. She is weaving in and out of trees like a wild woman. I think she is trying see which of the other two birds will die first. One of them- oh my gosh- yep, one of them is going to smash into a tree branch any second now and die. Then I will have to have a small service and bury it so the neighborhood cat doesn't get it and drag it around and leave it on my stairs for me to explain to my hysterical four-year-old why there is a dead bird head on our front porch.
I was so unprepared for a bird funeral today. Why can't they just try polygamy?
There are about ten birds playing chase or follow the leader or some sort of game like that. They are free like children. I follow their patterns as they follow each other around power lines, up trees, swirling around a squirrel and resting on tree branches for mere nano-seconds before taking off after the next leader. This is their version of summer fun.
There are two birds sitting in the little tree to my right. They must be the elder of the birds. They are buried in the branches, perched and sometimes talking. Mostly resting. Mostly just being. A cluster of birds fly by to occasionally taunt these elders, perhaps begging them to come play, but they are not shaken. They have done their fair share of playing. Now they rest. I look at them and I wonder- will I ever rest?
They look back at me. Curious. Still. The breeze slightly swaying their branch. The breeze slightly blowing through my hair.
You are resting, child.
A host of birds chase a hawk. Every single morning this happens. This enormous hawk with vulture like wings and midnight black, leathery skin swoops down to the tops of our trees. I think he is after our baby birds. And we will have no part of that. No, we won't.
The birds rally the troops and begin to dive bomb the hawk from every direction. I take it upon myself to narrate. "That way!" "Left" "He's back peddling! Quick! "RIIIIGGHHHT" "YOU SON OF A" "FREAKING BIRD EATER- GET HIM!!!!!!"
He appears to have gotten one. They press in harder. Making noises that sound more like wild baboons than birds.
"Birds unite!" "CHARGE!!!!" "KILL HIIIIIMMMMM," I say with gusto.
Oh my gosh. I just said that out loud. I just narrated that out loud didn't I?
I quickly scan the other front porches in my row of condos to see if anyone else may have heard me narrate the epic battle. With overwhelming relief, I see no one. But I'm sure my neighbor, whose front door is wide open heard me. I am sure she is thinking, "Please tell me this isn't a thing grown women do? Narrate bird battles while their child sleeps to an ungodly hour each morning."
What goes around comes around.
The two grand-momma birds are still sitting on the branches to my right. Unmoved by the epic battle. Or the flirting birds. Or the group of birds relentless in their quest for worms in my flower beds. Or the ones who are just flying to fly. Just to move. No. The grand-momma birds just sit. Knowing they will face those other responsibilities soon enough. Knowing that cool, breezy mornings only happen for a few minutes each day. Knowing that the world will not stop while they sit and they will not get too far behind in their duties. What is truly all that pressing?
I hear Annie yelling my name now. She never wakes up gently. It is always with full gusto and passion. Soon she will say, "Hi mom. Should I tell you my dreams now or later? Do you want to play? I was thinking we could play princess and we can BOTH be princesses! What are we having for breakfast? When are we going outside? Do I HAVE to go to school today? Mom, I just want to run."
I know you do baby.
And the talking will not stop for the next twelve hours. And I am grateful for the moments on my porch. And I am grateful for her. And I am grateful for the old lady birds who speak Jesus to me. Reminding me of what rest truly is. And I am grateful I didn't have to bury a dead bird this morning. And I am grateful my neighbors don't judge me for being the bird lady. And I am grateful that we haven't caught the evil hawk yet. It gives me something to look forward to.
Here- where I find rest.