If you have a garden and water and a bird bath, sometimes it feels like paradise.Got up this morning and it is maybe 29 or 30 degrees out. Coffee, sit and think what needs to be done. Look out window and two robins are sitting on the edge of the bird bath. I try to fill the bird bath everyday. Birds need water even in the winter. The snow is too cold for their systems. I use to think they could just eat the snow but a friend told me no. So I shuffle out in my torn ice blue garden clogs, my old, oversized green furry robe, and messed up hair. All the neighbors can see me because the leaves are off the trees, the ones that used to cover up the huge new houses in the back and to my west. I don’t care anymore who sees me disheveled. And, without my lipstick.
I check the water in bird bath and it is half full but then I realize it is frozen solid. The birds were trying to peck at the ice and get some water. I fill a huge pot and fill the bath. As soon as I am inside two robins fly out and drink.
They drink and drink and more and more birds come. Little dark ones like sparrows, that were flying around the garden bumping into each other— when they flew around you could see their bottoms were white as snow. Then a big fat robin flew towards the bird bath perched and sat there, another robin came to drink and the first robin opened its beak threateningly and scared it away. It always shocks me when birds behave badly, as I always thought of them as gentle creatures, and mostly in the garden they are.
The lone robin drinks and then goes into the middle of the bird bath and splashes around– so it wanted to take a bath, alone. It’s cold out and there is a layer of ice underneath the bird bath and still it bathes and splashes as though it’s summer. I stare and stare and press my face to the window looking at the birds and can hardly tear myself away. They are always a delight a real joy to see and I wonder how they manage to survive at all.
The flowers are gone except for a few half-frozen asters and chrysanthemums. The leaves are scattered on the grass, the perennials a scraggly mess and waiting to be tidied up. But still so much life in the garden. The birds now are the flowers for me. There were ten or fifteen of them in the garden, five or six robins, several wrens, and some starling like creatures. Some were flying around, some were squabbling on the ground, some splashing, and some being chased away. Always a miracle and always a revelation to see this life in the fading garden.