Word of the Day: LOVE

love-scrabble-text-wood-208099When I have a new post over at The Muffin, I usually throw something up here, too, directing readers to the post while updating y’all on doings in my neck of the woods. Sometimes, I can tie in both of my worlds in a pretty brilliant (not to mention hilarious) way; other times, not so much.

Today is a not so much time. So if you’re here just for writing stuff, then zip right over to “Look It Up!” where I expound upon fancy words like oxymoron and malapropism. I love words, and as most writers love words, too, I think you’ll…well, love it. And then if you want to come back for something sort of different, that’ll be nice, too. But if you’d rather not, I’ll understand and see you next time.

So there is much going on in the world today, hundreds of miles from me and just down the road. And by the end of last week, I was overwhelmed almost to the point of despair. I decided that I was not going to read the paper Friday morning; I could not start one more day with bad news.

I have a chair in my kitchen where I keep my bird guide book (apparently I cannot go a single post without mentioning the b-word) and the wonderfully uplifting Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters. I reached over to read a poem or two and I saw a Georgia Bulletin, the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta. It was from April,  which is a bit odd because I read my Bulletin when it comes. And I almost discarded it when an article on the front page caught my eye: “Jesus gives strength to face the unexpected, pope says.”

I knew it had to be addressing the pandemic but I began to read it anyway. And it was about Covid-19, though no c-word was ever mentioned. What Junno Arocho Esteves reported on was the Pope’s preaching on Luke’s Gospel reading of Jesus and the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Honestly, I’ve always found this story very odd so I was all in, thinking at last the Pope is going to explain it all to me.

And he did, too. Here is what Pope Francis said about the disciples’ encounter and how it is the same that all Christians must follow to experience joy:

“These are the three steps that we can also take in our homes: First, to open our hearts to Jesus, to entrust Him with our burdens, hardships, disappointments in life. Second, to listen to Jesus, to take the Gospel, to read this passage from chapter 24 of Luke’s Gospel; and third, pray to Jesus with the same words of those disciples, ‘Lord, stay with us.’ Lord, stay with me; Lord, stay with all of us because we need you so we can find the way.”

We need you so we can find the way. I needed that reminder and I’m sure the Lord directed me to the Bulletin just so I’d read that article. (As I continued to read, I recognized several of the other articles and I’d say that I don’t know why I didn’t recycle that issue of the Bulletin but of course I do know that the Lord knew I’d need those words weeks later.)

I still struggle with what’s going on in the world far from me and in my neck of the woods. But I know that with God’s help, we’ll find the way to justice, to peace, to joy, to equality, to a better world for all. I’m pretty sure it starts with the l-word.

Love your neighbor as yourself.

Love. It’s that easy and that hard.

I Will Not Put Birds in the Title of This Post

I will not write about birds.

I will not write about birds.

I will not write about…Gak! Just this one thing. This morning, I’m working in the office, typity, typity, typity, when I hear a crash. So I dash to the kitchen where I notice first, the door is open (when will Libs learn to close the door behind her?) and second, a bird flying around the kitchen.

As this is not my first bird-in-the-kitchen situation, I was prepared to spring into action! But since the door was wide open, the bird wisely headed for wide open spaces and swoosh, she was gone. Now to investigate…what had caused the crash?

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That’s a little John thumbprint flower on the broken flowerpot. Seems like something I should try to glue back together?

Apparently, the bird had knocked a very small flowerpot off the shelf. I’m no bird expert (despite all my writing and dealings with birds lately) but that seemed like a feat of amazing strength. For a bird, that is.

Anyway, slowly and very carefully, we’re getting out again in my neck of the woods. Which means you may read about something other than birds (and squirrels) here. But I’m not making any promises.

Oh! I do have something completely different: rejection! That’s always a cheery subject (and nothing to do with birds) so if you’re interested in knowing a little about what makes a bad rejection good, then you can dash over to The Muffin for my“Tale of the Three Good Rejections.”

So that’s about it. Except for the cardinal I found on the screened-in porch. AAAACCKK.

I will not write about birds.

I will not write about birds.

I will not write about birds.

Tales From a Screened-in Porch (and Deck)

Remember last time we met here and I shared that I had a wren’s nest on the screened-in porch? The little ones had just hatched and every time I stepped out on the porch, I’d hear all kinds of peeping.

But after a few weeks or so, the peeping stopped. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I thought that was it. Those birds were expired. Kicked the bucket. Shuffled off the mortal coil. They were, in short, ex-birds.

Anyway, then I shone my light into the nest, and those birds looked at me with…well, I’m going to say a touch of malice. Like if I didn’t get that light out of their eyes, they’d peck my eyes out. Once they could, you know, actually leave the nest.

IMG_20200503_115110487Despite their bad bird attitude and utter silence, I continued to watch over them, and in due time, I walked out on the porch and heard peeping. Again. But it wasn’t from the nest. It came from under the woodpile! The fledglings were spreading their wings! Two, in fact, had already taken off. But these last two were not inclined to leave the safety of the screened-in porch. So I kept Libs the Tiny Terror at bay and patiently waited for them to gather their courage.

And just when I thought they were never going to leave, I heard a flutter behind me. One had flown away whilst the other continued to peep pitifully. I imagined he (or she) was crying, “Don’t leave me! I’m coming!” and then swoosh! I watched her (or him) take off and make it all the way to the branch of a limb. Where I’m pretty sure much hoopla and celebrating commenced.

Unfortunately, I can’t report such a happy ending for my bird feeder. A few days later, I heard a commotion on the deck and glanced up just in time to catch a rogue squirrel holding on for dear life as the top of the feeder separated from the rest of the feeder and squirrel and feeder plummeted twenty feet to the ground.

I expected to find an ex-squirrel under the feeder when I rushed down the stairs. But nope, birdseed, nuts, and plastic bits lay scattered across the grass; there wasn’t a single sign of that rascally vermin.

In Before the Pandemic World, I would’ve gone straight away to the store and purchased another bird feeder. And I did try to order a bird feeder but apparently, feeding birds has become a pandemic pastime so there were none to be found.

So I went back outside to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air from the lounge chair on my deck. When suddenly, there was this plip of a feeling. On my arm. And I looked down to find what I can only describe as bird poop.

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I told you those wrens had it out for me.

(And before you ask, “What does ANY of this have to do with writing?”, let me direct you to my latest post at The Muffin, Ennui: Not So Boring After All.)