It’s the end of the quarter and I have at least 60 research papers yet to grade. I don’t know the exact number because if I actually count the remaining papers, it will just make me sad. I’m all set up to grade with coffee and a REM retrospective on NPR, but my cats are hellbent on helping. Their version of helping is walking across me so I can’t bend
forward to write on the papers or the rubric. Since I don’t have stairs to simply throw the papers down and determine grades by where they land, I have to use the cat butt method instead. If you get your paper back and it smells like cat butt, the writing needed some serious editing and development = F/D range.
THUNK! Oh shit. A bird just hit the glass patio door. Must check it out and possibly rescue!
Why am I outside in the misting rain wearing tie-dye flannel pajamas and whispering to the baby mockingbird in my hands that it had better not die or it’s really going to fuck up my mindset for the day?
When I opened the door, the bird was on its back flailing around and trying unsuccessfully to get upright. I’ve read too many issues of Birds and Blooms where people write in about holding a stunned bird in their hands until it gets its head together enough to fly off. I cupped the bird in both hands, giving it space but still creating some coverage and warmth from the rain. It kept its eyes at a squint and twitched its wings, at least it was on its stomach instead of “turtling” on its back. After what seemed like several minutes, it finally opened its eyes and managed to get a grip on my palm with its feet.
I sat on the damp lawn furniture as it hung out on my fingers letting me stroke it and talk to it. At first I thought it was a goldfinch because of the greenish tones to the feathers, but realized that the beak and tail were too long. It fluttered its wings and puffed up its chest but mostly sat on my fingers opening and closing its beak and looking around. A moment of sunlight made it cock its head up and open its eyes more. Where are the bird parents when you need them? Yesterday an adult mockingbird was in the top of the pine tree going through its song book, but no sign of it now.
Several pictures and a phone call to my mom later, I got up to relocate the baby mockingbird to the protected grape vines at the side of the house. It chose the moment of me setting it down in the vines, to launch itself, bounce off the side of the house (good grief, bird!) then fly off over the neighbor’s yard.
I only got pooped on once. Back to work!
Damn it, the cats are done “helping,” but have now wrapped themselves in to the most twisted “cat knot” ever. Sookie just made a grunty, sighing noise and squished Miles even deeper into the cat bed. Too adorable not to get up and document.
While the morning started rainy and overcast therefore ending temptations to continue gardening, the sunlight is now brilliantly beckoning to me: “Those papers will get done somehow, but I’m not sure if your tomato plants can survive another hour in pots. Must plant now! Come outside.”
DAMN YOU, NATURE!!