Friday, May 18, 2012

The Growing Season


At this point in time, the growing season for children and plants, my writing takes second place to many more important matters. It's people who inspire me most, and nature.  My advice to writers? Take time for people and God's other creation, observing, appreciating, sharing.
Now, the blueberries growing in my fence corner came on full and lush this spring. Recalling how the birds flocked to them last year, I vowed to keep my berries safe for five-year-old Reagan. First up, I tried “bird netting” bought at Lowes. The net was carefully arranged over the bushes.
“I covered the blueberries to keep the birds away,” I told Reagan. She threw back her head, giggled and giggled, her brown eyes dancing.
Unfortunately, the winds blow hard on this hill where I live and berries came through the net, leaving exposed berries dangling and tangling in the warp and weave. I carefully removed and trashed the thing, as visions of birds caught, trapped, came into my mind.
Next up I bought a plastic owl, a foot or more tall, from Walmarts, complete with wobbly, revolving head and huge golden, spooky eyes. "It'll work," said the saleman. Encouraged and hopeful, I placed it on a tiny metal table near the berries. Its big head revolved in the slightest breeze and the birds disappeared. I named the owl Hooty, which brought more giggles from Reagan, as she scoured the bushes for berries, making happy little murmurs when finding a few ripe ones scattered among leaves.
A week passed. At twilight, even I occasionally started, seeing the owl’s dark profile, so scary and ominous as he sat, guarding my back yard. Silence settled in. No tweets, twitters and bird songs came to brighten my mornings and cheer my evenings. In the bright sunshine Japanese beetles devoured my roses, circling over them in small clouds, glutting and mating freely. I mowed the grass and no birds came to feed on bugs afterward. Bugs crawled on window glass and screened porch.
In desperation and after only a week-long experiment, one evening I removed the owl and hid it under a pillow on the porch chair. Early the next day a small, brave bird appeared tentatively on the fence, a female Southern blue.
I left for the day, and was I ever pleased on returning home, to see birds of every kind and color… in a frenzy flying about my yard, one even hitting a windowpane. A mocker camped out in the roses eating beetles incessantly, and a redbird swooped and dove across the yard seemingly drunk. Finches trilled in the trees nearby, celebrating and adding music to the orgy-like bug fest/feast.
Still standing amazed at the open aviary of my yard, I was on the phone with my brother when I noted a fat chipmunk scurrying along the fence, heading toward my blueberry bushes. It arrived to its dinner in short order, reared back on hind legs and with tiny hands, grasped the blueberry limb drawing it to itself and eating green berries!
It had been with great puzzlement that I’d noticed the green ones becoming sparse, even when my guard Hooty Owl was in place. The chipmunk wasn’t fooled by a plastic predator Hoo Hoo Hooty, now sent into early retirement and only after one week’s work.
This morning at daylight, I awakened to sweet sounds of songbirds again and giggled like a five-year-old. Costco sells great blueberries.
Be inspired!-G.H. Sherrer