I’m not the one with the green thumb. That would be Bill. If it has fur and/or a pulse, I’m good. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy plants, especially flowers. I’m pretty good with my hanging planters every summer, my angel-wing begonias, and my mum garden does well. I’m just much better with critters. I get critters; we connect.
I was skeptical when the locust tree popped up in the far corner of the back yard. I didn’t like the thorns. I was sure we could find a “better” tree. I called it a scrub tree. Yet Bill took to it immediately. His green thumb was itching to get it growing. He said it was perfect, meant to be there, he had wanted a tree for that spot. So there it was: a locust tree that just moved itself in. Just like all of the critters we rescue, Bill rescues plants.
I was skeptical. It took awhile to convince me. However, when the critters and birds took to it, I accepted that it was part of our yard. Suddenly there were birds in it! Orioles would sit there, as they migrated through to and from the birdbath. Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Brown Creepers would skitter up and down the tree. Cardinals and Blue Jays could be seen daily in the locust tree. Wren would sit there and sing their little hearts out! It had a purpose now; if the birds loved it, so could I.
We finally had the perfect place for Dewey’s birdhouse. There had never seemed the “right” place before. It just didn’t seem appropriate to put it out in the open, unsheltered. The cedars and pines seemed to attract the wrong birds for this little house. So, we mounted Dewey’s birdhouse on the fence post, next to the locust tree. We hoped the wren would like it.
The wren moved in immediately. We were thrilled! Then the tornado came through, taking down several trees, and half of our fence. The house was not damaged, but the post with the birdhouse hung loose. By the time the fence was repaired, the wrens had understandably abandoned it.
It took a year, but this spring when nesting season began we watched Dewey’s birdhouse with much anticipation and hope. One morning we heard the wren singing in the locust tree. By noon, they were filling the birdhouse with twigs and bedding.
And the next day a storm hit, taking the adjoining section of fence with it. I felt devastated, only imagining what the wren thought! I knew there was no family in the birdhouse yet, but figured they would never trust it again. I feared Dewey’s birdhouse would remain abandoned forever now.
The fence was fixed, but the wren had moved on. I could hear the wren, as they nested in neighbor’s trees. I would see them sitting on nearby trees, coming and going happily. But Dewey’s birdhouse sat empty, abandoned. It made me sad. I imagined it made Dewey sad, too.
One day recently, I noticed the wren sitting in the locust tree, singing his little heart out. Then I noticed twigs and grass sticking out of the birdhouse. I was hopeful, but cautious. I was afraid to get too excited yet.
When Bill was out doing weekly yard work this weekend, he saw a little bird’s face peeking out of Dewey’s birdhouse. In the locust tree, a wren was singing its song loudly and heartily. The wrens were back! They had moved into Dewey’s birdhouse!
Our hearts are full of joy! We are sure Dewey is, too. She was all about loving and sharing, offering help to whoever needed it. She wanted everyone to be happy, even animals.
Dewey’s legacy is just that: love, giving from the heart, unselfishly. Her spirit lives on.
For Dewey, with love: 1987-1996, forever in our hearts.