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  1. #1
    No One of Consequence wilomn's Avatar
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    Humming Bird Porch

    Late one Winter and the Spring that followed, it was my pleasure as well as duty, to sit upon a porch. It was a nice porch, well used and well taken care of.

    Covered, of course, but not screened. This was not an area favourable to flying bloodsuckers and so no need to hide behind blended wire to be safe from them. The chairs that lived there were old with frames of tubular aluminum bent gracefully with skill from a time when the men making them took actual pride in the work they did. The plastic straps were interwoven with care by well experienced practiced hands. The fact that the vinal cushions with their pattern of vines intricately interwoven around the borders, twining outlining giving the feel of such realness that they themselves were but one step from life made all the more pleasurable the need and satisfaction of it that sitting on those old vinal cushions sitting on the plastic straps interwoven by well experienced hands onto tubes of aluminum gracefully turned and bent at the height of a craft now long forgotten. Or lost. They were quite comfortable to sit in.

    The house behind, freshly painted a cool grey its trim and pristine white that should have been impossible to maintain but by evidence plainly provided was not, green and brown and red, orange and purple everywhere you look, colour exploding in a garden more than fifty years becoming beautiful, intricate, a source of pride for its creator and pleasure its viewer.

    The garden somehow bringing the house, and the porch that fronted it, into a particular clarity. It were as though you were looking though a camera with a telescopic lens, with the background a smear of colour without shape or form completely out of until adjustments are made, complicated extrapolations enacted, and a clarity of perfection is achieved, completed.

    The porch was always in focus. In sharp, clear, detail enhancing focus. I liked this porch. I liked the house behind it. I liked the garden beside it. Though in part my job to be there, that late Winter and the Spring that followed it, it was never a chore, never a burden the way some commitments can be.

    There I saw spiders spin webs, growing larger, more complex as their job of snaring spider suppers with strings sticky with death, their purpose to fill fat with the goo of unlucky hoppers and flyers the bellies of the sticky web spinners, some of which grew to cover spans of several feet with occupants near the size of walnuts, if walnuts had wickedly pointed cephlathoraxes, eight legs covered spines so sharp that just looking at them made me cringe with anticipated pain and eyes, eight of them as well, all shiny and bright, holding secrets of stealth and patience no human will ever hear.

    Sparrows came and went. Geese honked as the glided on the the water in the flood basin a mile to the east, their long glide from the heights to rest and food graceful and noisy. Crows cawed and squabbled, chasing the Red Tails off before they could establish a nest.

    Sycamores lined the front of the property leafing out as the days lengthened, going from hundreds of naked knuckle-gnarled thin twisted fingers of fleshless bone bare of any hint at all of green to being fully fleshed in hundreds of thousands of singing humming orchestra in the breeze, leaves. This was a good porch.

    On this porch where sat two thrones of aluminum, plastic and vynal, a work of iron and brick was tasked to keep above, thereby providing shelter from a too hot sun or a too wet rain from those lucky enough to be below, on overhang, a roof.

    There were twists and turns in the iron work, windy bendy parts everywhere you looked. To follow the process its progress made inevitable was pleasant though not always as easy as might be thought, thinking that merely starting at one end, the beginning, following various curls and mobius turns, curves of angles only plants normally attained, up around back upon and through its own self, thereby reaching, or attaining, acquiring, the completion of the journey, the end, didn't always make it so. Finding the end that is.

    My eye, used to smoothly, seemlessly flowing over the course of the iron ribbons intricacies was stopped abruptly, immediately, without any further forward motion.

    There, in the center of a thick pristine white 4 X 8 support beam, was a circular, half inch tall, no bigger around than a silver dollar, looking like a stiff puff of wind would tumble it end over end off the edge of its world, birds nest. In the nest was sitting something small and alive, quivering, eyes ohsobright, a soon to be mother, humming bird.

    Over my next few visits she and her boyfriend could be seen hovering about, feeding on the pink and orange Hibiscus, almost disappearing into the purple and yellow and orange Birds of Paradise and somehow not getting sticky at all in the red and yellow Bottle Brush bush.

    I don't think she was in the nest that first time I saw her. I suppose I must have been still enough, sitting there long enough to make her comfortable, or forgetful, enough, to be willing to nest in her newly built home.

    I suppose that was so because when I shifted to cross my legs that first time we met, she buzzed out of that nest like her tail was on fire. She buzzed and hovered, darting for all she was worth, until I left. Apparently landing was not an option while my presence was detectable. Would she return, her little mind relieved, put at ease, already forgetting that which made her flee?

    She would.

    I know this because upon my next occasion to visit there was evidence. She had not only come back, she had laid eggs. Two of them. Small, very, oval and white. They practically filled the nest all by themselves.

    She must have seen, and heard, me unlocking and opening the gate, the great ornate rod iron gate prone to ear wrending creaks and moans as it was opened, freshly painted the green of ripe Italian Olives which somehow strongly suited it, pillared as it was by giant sycamores whose dark green oceans of leaves and vertical rivers of silver bark blended so well as to almost mask the gate entire.

    Not wishing to disturb my tiny porchmates, yet needing to fulfill my commitments to the porch as well as myself, I sat in the chair my rear had a care for, composed myself, and waited. I had time.

    She buzzed the Sago Palm, large and fat and spiky growing anchoring the far end of the garden next to the garage. Her boyfriend swooped and flitted but stayed out of what he must have considered the danger zone, near the pepper tree to the left of the porch as you faced the street, by the front door when I could see him at all. She had the stronger parental instinct.

    I moved slowly that afternoon, when I moved at all. I had a plan. She hovered now, only a dozen feet out, in plain sight. My plan was working. Zigging and zagging like Ali in his prime, the whir of her wings audible even from that distance, she did her best to stare me down. She was fierce.

    I was patient.

    She was a mother.

    I was not.

    She came and sat.

    I sat and watched.

    Her breathing slowed from seven THOUSAND beats a minute to four thousand five hundred. She was relaxing. That tiny little bird in that tiny little nest on those tiny little eggs, right in front of me. Pretty cool stuff.

    When I got up to leave, which was as inevitable as the setting of the sun with which my departure so coincidentally coincided, she was gone in a zip zag buzz.

    I knew she'd be back.

    As would I just a few days hence.

    My next arrival, preceded immediately by the loud clamor of old metal upon old dry metal, she sat, waiting, watching until I was nearly to the steps of the porch, until she was absolutely positive that I was, once again, invading her porch.

    Once she was sure of my invasion, she left, not zipping zapping or buzzing, flying as she must, but not in panic. She hovered, flashing left, right, backward, down and up, not in the excited fearful exhibit of impossible feats of aeronautic miraculous maneuvers she had been subject to previously.

    She wasn't calm, what humming bird ever is really, but she was much less fearful as I mounted the cement steps to the porch on which were sitting those whose job it was to be sat upon. Not wanting to be robbing them of the fulfillment of their reason for being, I sat.

    Having accomplished the completion of the above mentioned fulfillment, I stilled myself, as was usual, watched, as was also usual, and waited. As usual.

    As was becoming, would in fact from then on be, usual, the mother to be returned to her babies unborn, sat herself primly upon her future, fluffing wriggling, fitting herself perfectly over that which must at all costs be protected and commenced to watch me, certain the the depths of her tiny little brain, that I must have some nefarious intention as yet unknown but certain to come.

    We spent what was for me, possibly for her, a pleasant afternoon that day. Her gradually learning that I was not a predator bent on devouring her and her brood to be. She buzzed and hummed and fed more often than on my previous visits. She was either accepting me or forgetting that I was there. Either or both were perfectly acceptable.

    Clambering to my feet late that sunny afternoon, she stayed on the nest, eyeing me warily to be sure, not leaving her home sweet home.

    A fair bit of time expanded, was expended, between that visit and my next. The eggs, both of them, had hatched, growth had commenced molecule by molecule, cell by cell, bones forming, skin growing, feathers fledging. Doubtless were I able to hear sounds pitched so high as surely must be the miniature voices of these future pollen collectors, their calls of hunger, thirst for life would ring upon me, cascading eardrum to eardrum, my very skull echoing with the cries of life beginning, life anew.

    Or so I imagine it would be were they and could I.

    The father had apparently decide to own up to his patriarchal responsibilities and was feeding his children regularly, often, even giving the mother an occasional break so she could feed, watching her family from nearby, sometimes perching, coming to a halt so complete, seconds so long that they sometimes stretched into minutes. She motionless save for her breathing, the entire time.

    Day had lengthened its stay since the nest had first been built, tenderly glued piece by daub by fluff. Its longer stay making shorter the night, greener the leaves, taller the grasses, riper the seeds and fruits, growing the years crop of young.

    Young squirrels were becoming adult squirrels. The gophers were raising their second family of the year. The first five, three sons and a daughter, having all moved out, tunneling under the driveway to the field the milk goats lived in, wild and unkempt, on the South side of the house. The barn owls in the giant oak across the street were fully feathered. They would be gone in a day or two, starting now night lives. And so too those little birds with whom I had become acquainted, future buzzers extraordinaire, would be when next I came.

    The next empty, function fulfilled, purpose accomplished, shelter provided, family raised and gone, the nest itself no long present; wind blown, gardener hosed, collected by a curious child of particularly exceptional attention to detail to have even seen it, stolen by rogue termites, there will be no way to know.

    It's purpose completed, it's whereabouts unimportant, it's replacement next year, I would hope, inevitable.
    I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
    Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man.
    www.humanewatch.org

  2. #2
    No One of Consequence wilomn's Avatar
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    I'm feeling both gracious and vain today and I really like this one, typos and all, so I'm sharing.

    I hope you feel good after reading it, it's one of those kind of pieces.
    I may not be very smart, but what if I am?
    Stinky says, "Women should be obscene but not heard." Stinky is one smart man.
    www.humanewatch.org

  3. #3
    BPnet Lifer ballpythonluvr's Avatar
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    Re: Humming Bird Porch

    I so loved this Wes. It did indeed leave me feeling happy inside. Your words are so poetic yet comforting. I love reading what you write, it always serves a better purpose for me. Your words of wisdom are so endearing. I respect you more then I respect most people. Keep writing Wes, you have a gift.

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