Previous chapters of our story:
North San Diego County ('10-'14)
We're standing beneath the rafters of our new (inexplicably ceiling-less) front porch. A pile of sharp-scented pine beadboard behind us, finish nailer in hand, we're determined to close up this space before our doing so would break up bird families. We don't have much time. Now, in January, the birds are already chasing each other idiotically between the beams, secure in the knowledge that when their flirting comes to an end, their nests are already made.
And this all feels so very familiar.
After a difficult year, very little of which even bears mention, we are here:
This is the view from the back porch. The coyotes have a rowdy block party out in this canyon at dusk every night.
Oh, no, wait, that's the doghouse. I did try to take a picture of the house for you, but it would have required standing IN the avocado trees across the road, and although I was game, by the time I was in there my camera saw only leaves.
The place where our garden will be:
What will become the chicken coop:
The creek that chuckles along below the back windows, accompanying the frogs in the night symphony:
The avocado tree that sends Father Bird into transports of joy:
...and the trails that lead into the mysterious woods where our children are relearning how to love the outdoors.
I did try to steer us toward a home where there was less work to be done, a place where we could put our feet up for a while, but in the end, we came to a place where there are things to be built, things to be planted, things that need fixing, painting, tending...
In short, a place where we will be comfortable doing what we do. A new nest. And so we line up our yellow-and-black boxes of power tools on the workbench, order seeds for the garden, and take a deep, deep breath.
Time to take it from the top.
North Georgia ('05-'09)
Up in the eaves of my screened porch roof there's a bird nest. (Great screens, I know.)
Every spring a mother bird comes and raises a brood of baby birds up in that nest, and I watch her through the glass door of my kitchen. All day, every day, she flies back and forth, finding food for that nest full of chirping chicks. All day, every day, I'm inside the door, flying back and forth, taking care of my own nestful of baby birds. I always wonder what will happen to mother bird. Will she wear herself completely out feeding her babies? Will she fly out of the nest one day to look for worms, look up and see the sunset, yank off her apron and fling it, and never look back?
Or will she raise a new brood of babies every year, then come home after teaching them to fly, sweep out the nest, have a party with father bird, and start all over again?
This is me-
Three years ago we lived in southern California, in a lovely subdivision, .2 miles from a Walmart and a Costco. We decided we wanted to live where there was a little more room between houses, fewer people, and a little more distance from the commercial district. (We also wanted a house we could afford.) We wanted to raise all our own food and teach our children to work. We wanted to live on a farm.
Now, here's Father Bird-
Father Bird has a knack with little boys. He's also a software engineer. So, when looked for a house, we started at his new place of work and drove as far toward the countryside as we thought he wouldn't mind driving every day. We ended up here, on five acres that was in a nice, quiet, semi-rural area with trees all around. We started a garden, built a chicken coop, had another child, and worked and worked on our little old house. Then we built an office in the basement and Father Bird's company gave him the okay to telecommute every day of his life. So, really, I guess we could've moved anywhere.
And then they cut down the trees and built a Target shopping center, about .2 miles from our house.
Turns out it's not as rural as we thought. But now we have three years' worth of sweat put into the garden, the house, and our lives here. And, you know, having a Target up the street isn't as bad as we used to think. We're still half an hour from the nearest fabric store, and that's wilderness enough for me.
So here we are, learning as we go, pretending we live on a farm, banging our fingers with hammers and getting eaten up by fire ants, and loving all of it. Flying back and forth, taking care of our baby birds. Someday, as they say, we'll laugh about all of this. Won't you join us?