Friday, May 28, 2010

The best nest, with no dreams of darkness

Remember when I told you about the Wren Family, a couple of weeks ago? It was part of this post and included a description of the location of Chez Wren. Wrens are opportunistic nesters, known for building nests in boots you leave on the back porch or wheelbarrows left untended for more than 10 minutes or so. This particular family has once again built a nest in a sandblaster, in a very high-traffic area of our garage. And since I told you about the nest, the eggs have hatched and four perfect tiny wrens are waiting for their parents to deliver supper. In this photo you can see a hint of what Rodney tells me is more properly called a sandblasting cabinet, in which the nest has been built. The black material around the nest is where you would put your right hand if you were using the machine. Well, it's where you'd put your right hand if you were a PERSON using the machine. Clearly the Wren Children are using the machine in avian fashion.

Beginning a long weekend, Rod and I went to the beach. I took pictures and thought about people just like me along the Gulf Coast, who love a stretch of beach or brackish wetland as fiercely as I do Guana and are now almost certainly unable to think of anything but approaching darkness in the form of a black plague of oil. If I am honest with you and with myself, I have to admit to pushing away thoughts of the coming disaster. I can hardly bear to think of it. It is too horrible, too enormous, too inevitable now. My heart breaks for those people and for us, for we are all sure to feel the evil touch of this horror. But I'll leave the writing about this to better pens than my own. I am not its equal, and I know it.

Still, even in the face of the unimaginable, life does go on. Wonder of wonders, we've been given a window into its magic: look!
You can see the four small birds, snuggled into their bit of unlikely real estate, sleepily waiting for their parents to bring food. Their tiny feathers are still sprouting, their tiny wings just being wiggled, though it will only be a matter of days now before they are fledged and cheerily calling to one another as they fly between the trees and drink from the little fountain on the back porch. We had a bad moment as we set up to take a quick photo with as little upset as possible to Chez Wren. The babies were perfectly still, almost too still. Rod touched the cabinet gently, checking for signs of life and in that instant all the beaks opened widely for incoming food. How to Reach Adulthood Without Being Eaten, by Our Baby Wrens: perfect, still silence while your parents are away from the nest, balanced by immediate readiness for food when your parents return. When the movement they felt proved not to be a parent and a meal, they returned to stillness in a heartbeat and we stepped away, leaving them to wait.

Photos courtesy of Rodney Christensen


  1. Beautiful photos. Those wrens look so peaceful inside the sandblaster.

    I can't imagine what it must feel like, walking the beach and enjoying the waves, knowing the oil is coming. I do so hope you will still write something about it. Everyone's perspective into the disaster is eye-opening to those who don't live along the coast, and I can't think of a better pen to write about it than yours.

  2. As I read this, my wrens were flying in and out right beside me to get food for the babies I know must have hatched in the crazy nest they built on top of an old tarpon mount above one of the three doors on my porch. It would take a ladder to check that nest, even for the preternaturally tall Mr. Moon and so we are leaving them be but I know they are there.
    Crazy birds! I love them.

  3. Michelle: thank you so much. It's just such a frightening, awful's very hard to think about.
    Ms. Moon: They are the craziest'd think they'd WANT to nest somewhere so high that even Mr. Moon could not peer into the inner sanctum, but in this case, the nest is about the same height as your kitchen cabinets. It's almost like being invited in, until you see the storm cloud face of Mrs. Wren, who is NOT PLEASED to see you when she happens to be in the nest. :)


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