Nest-Building’s a Messy Business
I made Big Bird a nest of branches and sticks today. I had to hobble downstairs and outside to the garden to find what I needed. Half of the green stuff here in San Juan I’ve never seen before — not too many conifers, which I do know. So I had to go online and make sure that every branch and leaf I’d harvested was safe for birds to sharpen their beaks on. I chucked a few of the larger branches over the balcony, and laid the others — not flat but criss-crossed, in the cage. Finally, Big Bird’s Casa Blanca was ready, with a clay water bowl tucked in the right front corner and a silver bell suspended by the bar perch. As if on cue, the adventuring bird came back to me. He roosted on the balcony’s rail — relieved himself, actually — then flapped right into his home. Once all of him was in, I shut the door. He stared at me, as if to say, “Was that necessary? I’m just checking the place out.”
I stood there admiring my handy work — okay, staring Big Bird down — when I hear the key turn in the lock. Maria walked into the apartment, and she didn’t smile. I actually saw her jaw drop, though her hand quickly went to cover her mouth. I guess she may have gasped too. I looked down, and all around my feet were leaves, and sticks — and several small crawling things that must have come out of the branches. In my creative absorption, I had left a burner on too, because I was beginning to smell a salty, pasty odor and remembered I’d left Campbell’s chicken soup on, maybe an hour ago?
Maria didn’t say anything, she just turned and went into the small bathroom off the short hall and closed the door. As much fun as I’d been having, I was eager to switch into Mr. Clean mode, find the garbage bags and dust broom, because I did not want the woman I loved to think — even for a moment — that I would be a problem to live with. No! If Will Gray makes a mess, he cleans it up. Broken leg notwithstanding, I tore around that place. Big Bird was all eye. He heckled. By the time Maria came out of the bathroom, I was leaning on my broom by the window with a Cheshire-Cat grin. I was thinking, maybe it’s sometimes good to make a mess, just so you can tear around and clean up. Maybe not quite as satisfying as making up after a fight, but satisfying nonetheless.