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 angel-wing begonias, and my mum gardens do well. I’m just much better with animals. 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 this tree growing. He said it was perfect; it was meant to be there. Bill insisted that he had wanted a tree for exactly that spot. So there it was: a locust tree that just moved itself in. How could I argue? Along with all of the critters we rescue, Bill rescues plants.
This was not a tree that I would have chosen however, when the wildlife took to it, I finally accepted it. It was now part of our yard. As it grew, birds began living in it! Orioles would stop there. King Birds regularly used the tree. Woodpeckers, Nuthatches and Brown Creepers could be seen skittering up and down the tree often. Cardinals and Blue Jays seemed to be present constantly. Wren would sit there and sing to their little heart’s content! The locust tree now had a purpose. If the birds loved it, so could I.
We had been given a birdhouse when our beautiful niece and god-daughter passed away. Dewey was only eight years old when she died during an asthma attack. She was an extraordinary child, so very full of life and love. There had never seemed the “right” place before for this special birdhouse. It just didn’t seem appropriate to put it out in the open, unsheltered. The cedars and pines seemed somehow wrong, so serious, dark and stern. They attracted birds that showed no interest in this little house. Yet, this locust tree seemed to attract beauty and life. It was so busy; just like Dewey! With this in mind, we mounted Dewey’s birdhouse on the fence post, next to the locust tree.
The wren moved into the birdhouse immediately. They worked hard to set up housekeeping. So, when the tornado came through, taking down half of our fence, we were devastated. The birdhouse was not damaged, but the fence post hung loose. By the time the fence was repaired, the wrens had been forced to abandon it.
The following spring, when nesting season began, we watched Dewey’s birdhouse with much anticipation and hope. One morning we heard the wren cheerfully singing in the locust tree. By noon, they were filling the birdhouse with twigs and bedding. We were overjoyed at the return of life to Dewey’s birdhouse.
Unbelievably, the next day a terrible storm tore through our neighborhood, taking an adjoining section of fence with it. I was shocked! How could this happen again?! I could only imagine what the wren thought! I knew there was no family in the birdhouse yet, but I feared that the birds would never trust this little house again. I feared Dewey’s birdhouse would remain abandoned forever now.
The fence was repaired, but the real damage was done. The wren had moved on. I could hear the wren, as they nested in neighboring trees. I would see them happily coming and going, but Dewey’s birdhouse sat empty, now abandoned. This made me so sad. I imagined it made Dewey sad, too. We were devastated yet again.
One day shortly thereafter, I noticed the male wren sitting in the locust tree. He was singing loudly and joyfully. I then noticed twigs and grass sticking out of the birdhouse. I was hopeful, but cautious. I was afraid to get too excited yet. I knew Dewey must be watching from the heavens with anticipation, too!
Later, Bill was out doing yard work when he saw a little bird’s face peeking out of Dewey’s birdhouse. In the locust tree, the male wren sat singing with what seemed to be much satisfaction. The wrens were back! They had moved into Dewey’s birdhouse!
Our hearts were again full of joy, as well! We are sure Dewey was, too. She was all about loving and sharing, always offering help to whoever needed it, in any way that she could. Dewey always wanted everyone to be happy, even animals. Her favourite song was, “Sunshine on My Shoulders”, which truly summed her up.
Dewey’s legacy is simple: love, giving from the heart, unselfishly. Her spirit lives on.
For Dewey, with love:
16 November 1987-13 June 1996…
forever in our hearts.
My “Golden Sky” Blogfest Memorial