The dust, so much dust, of the last six weeks begins to settle and so do I. A new, smaller space, which is challenging. But apart from a Very Little Ant Problem (both in scale and in ant-size), all I can feel is relief at no longer having to share my living space with the mice, stinkbugs, black flies, box elder bugs, and mini-flock of European starlings. Hard to believe that life had become *normal* to us, having all those outside creatures inside, right alongside us. And I am trying to return to a normal Me, the one that conjures up sympathy and empathy for those other creatures, rather than resentment or contempt.
A few days ago, The Girls and I spent a long time observing together a lone carpenter ant which had found a dead-moth “treasure” (as they call everything that is found outdoors, leaves, sticks, acorns, berries). The backdrop of this shared moment was the lovely view of the Blue Ridge Mountains from our patio (seen in the photo). So nice to be able to enjoy the outside space without thinking about all the pests trying to get inside.
The one thing I do miss so far from the other house are the birds. Watching them. Looking them up in the field guide. Writing down all the species that frequented our yard. Particularly our (because after 2 years, we felt that they belonged to us somehow) pair of red-bellied woodpeckers. From the songs, there seems to be a great many more birds here (a great many more trees & fewer houses), yet none of them – beyond the mundane Little Brown Jobs – show any interest in the feeder we’ve put up. There is one in particular that has intrigued me. I’m terrible with identifying birdsongs – they all sound so much the same to me – but this one was unusual, a bird I’d never seen and one with a constant and distinctive song. We finally got a good look at it yesterday, saw a fledging baby and mother in the foliage outside the kitchen window: a mockingbird. We’ve noted it on our list and listen each evening for its calls. And to ameliorate my sadness at what we’ve lost, the Preschooler has drawn me a picture of the woodpeckers, which she says is for “whenever you are missing them.”