Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Wrens are Here!

When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time with my maternal Grandma.  Grandma M was in a wheelchair (hereditary muscle disease) and limited to the inside of the house.  Fortunately, the house had two big viewing porches - one on the east side of the house that looked out over her flower gardens and Grandpa's treasured raspberry bushes.  The other was on the north facing side of the house, where she could watch the neighborhood and the semi-busy road to the east.  The small porch in the back was too crowded and small, and always shadowed by a big elm tree.

I used to stop on my walk home from school to water the garden and to talk.  Things weren't always great at home and I had lots of questions that there weren't answers to.  But at Grandma's, there was always flowers.  And always birds.  She could mimic all the bird song, except the wrens.

Every spring, on the day the wren's could first be heard in the garden, was a day of celebration.  I'd enter the house to "The wrens are here!  The wrens are here!"  So excited!  I'd help Grandma out onto the back porch and we'd watch the little brown birds flitting around, singing their sweet song.
Amazing, how such a little  bird can fill up a big yard with so much life and happiness. Grandma would talk about how as adults, the wrens came back to the same house they were born in.  How important it was not to judge them by their plain brown bodies, but by the beauty they offered to the world.  How no bird was a protective as the wren, who chitter like rattlesnakes when something threatens their territory.

I'm not sure what I love more: these little birds or the love and memories I have attached to them.  Their arrival is a celebration.  My mom calls when she hears the first wren.  It's a marker of spring for both J and I.  The backyard garden feels complete when they're singing.  My nephews grew up knowing, "Don't mess with the wrens!"  (D once sprayed their coop with water.  Only time auntie has been furious with him!)  When the wrens leave, usually in late July, early August, the garden feels empty.  We know that the year is turning, winter is headed our way.

Today, the wrens are here!  Everything and anything is possible. There's a bit of Grandma in my garden, singing to the tulips and lilacs and other growing things.

1 comment:

  1. They're absolutely precious! I love how they come with such great memories of your grandmother.

    Now that I think about it, my grandmother and I used to watch the birds in her bird feeder. Her favorite was the chickadee. :)