Every late afternoon when I leave my new office in Putnam Hall and come upon the trees by the corner of the library I come upon a hub of activity. Not from students…by that time the campus is fairly empty. The activity comes from a whole collection of birds and squirrels that have quite a loud and rambunctious party there daily. They don’t seem to mind me passing by. They keep chattering away at each other as if they were quite literally partying like it was 1999 (that was my flashback of what was futuristic – sigh).
I am delighted every day to see this clammoring bunch. It never fails to bring a smile to my face. This one little spot – this small strip of sidewalk that I cover in only a handful of steps (more steps if I am doing my old lady snow shuffle) – transports me to a place of joy.
I don’t have squirrels in my West Fargo neighborhood. I used to enjoy them running up and down the trees and across the yard in Kindred, but our neighborhood trees are obviously not mature enough to support squirrel families. I do have in West Fargo a whole collection of bunnies and enough birds to film a remake of The Birds.
The birds have not always been so prolific here. Over the years they have come to learn that we are regular feeders of birds here with two good-sized birdfeeders and they have apparently told their friends. Now on any given day you can find a hundred or more birds lingering nearby. I love to be able to hear them chirping, to see them interacting with each other – they transport me to a place of joy.
I feed the birds because my mother fed the birds and it was one small thing I wanted to do in her memory. It started out as a small gesture, but became surprisingly less focused on honoring my mom’s memory and more about the joy it brought me to have them around. The bunnies also gather around the bird feeder. They settle right in with the birds and munch away. I wish I had more hours in my day to just sit and watch it all - more hours to soak in the joy. Alas, buying all those pounds of bird food can add up to a chunk of change quickly so some work must be done to feed my joy habit. But as far as habits go, this one’s a keeper.
Day two hundred and thirty-six of the new forty – obla di obla da