Springtime in Indianapolis is like a resurrection.
Few cities I’ve known color their winters as gray as does our Indy. It’s one of the many things that make Indianapolis easy to underestimate.
Then comes the Spring.
The birds, on this resplendent Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, are busily nesting. Our feeders are busy, but so are the numerous bird houses scattered around our property. House finches are checking out the real estate, as are sparrows and chickadees. They move with the purpose of buyers in a sellers’ market. There are only so many bird houses to go around, you know. You snooze, you lose.
I admit, I’m a deeply sentimental man when it comes to places. An irrational nostalgia runs deep with regard to every place I’ve lived and a handful more where I’ve been.
Take Northern Wisconsin, for example.
My mother was born and raised there, my father pitched to Hank Aaron there, a whole youth worth of summer vacations made Lake Superior and the family who lived on its edges the destination of a long but never questioned drive from Pennsylvania.
When we Baers managed to gather there last Fall for the first time in many years, it was a coming home, a return to who we are, an understated migration to the stream of our origins.
I bought a bird house in Hayward. A knotty-pine Northwoods cabin of a bird house, a bit tacky if you’re from—let me pick a place—Virginia, but an icon of home if you have felt the Big Lakes’s breezes on your face.
May I detour for a moment in a technical direction?
The standard sources map out how important is the size of the hole in a bird house for the various species of backyard birds that lift our spirits and put our souls at ease in this Indianapolis space we call home. A chickadee family, you may be interested to learn, requires 1/8″ more of entrance clearance than does a wren.
My Northwoods knotty-pine bird house is made for wrens.
So it is that in these last few days a small drama has ensued just outside the windows which demarcate the human space from the delightfully kinetic animal space of our home.
A pair of chickadees has spied a log cabin that they would love to call home.
—Justin, it’s beautiful, honestly. But the doorway seems just a little small.
—Oh, Allison, I’m sure we can fit through. Look, just peer inside. OMG, it’s gorgeous in there. Can you imagine the kids?
—I know, Honey Man, I completely agree. I’m just not sure we can fit through that … um … that hole.
—Sure we can, Ally Baby, just watch. Ooh … Ouch … Oh my, this is a little tight. Here, let me peck at the edges of the hole for a while. I’m sure I can find us a sixteenth of an inch here. These things are not etched in stone, you know.
—Oh, Honey, you’re the sweetest. Knock yourself out. I’ll stand up here on the roof and watch.
—Ally, I think I can squeeze in. Ooh … ouch … HONEY, I’M IN … !!! Oh, Baby, it’s spacious in here. You wouldn’t believe it.
—But, Justin, when I’m with child? I mean, with eggs? Will I fit?
—Ally, Baby, we’ll get a gym membership. I’m sure it will work.
—OK, J-Dawgy, I really want to believe you. I’ll just sit out here on the wire for a while and peer longingly at our future home … I mean … what I hope will be our future home. You just keep pecking at that doorway. Do you think these feathers make me look fat?
This is as far as our drama has gone.
This afternoon has been a little quiet around the Old Log Cabin Bird House. Maybe a dream has died and our chickadee couple has found a little condo down the street. Or perhaps decisions have merely been postponed for another day.
Or maybe a pair of wrens is out looking …
You gotta’ move fast in a sellers’ market.