I stood like a stone by the bird feeder
In the cedar tree
Wearing white and grey and black
As if I were trying to match
The skin and silhouette of the bark-encased giant.
In my hand,
A humble pile of sunflower seeds
Used as bait
To lure a black-capped chickadee
Into the fluff of my mitten.
I had tried this a few times before,
But always seemed to lack the patience.
I had to stand there for so long,
My arm growing leaden,
My elbow becoming locked,
The snow falling so slowly.
It appeared still,
Caught somewhere between ‘Pause’ and ‘Play’,
And hung like bits of down on the sleepy air.
I stuck my tongue out to taste it,
And felt licks the size of sharp wee fairy tongues across the bridge of my nose, and on my forehead, cheeks and chin.
I pressed my arm into my side to relieve myself of the pain of gravity,
And allowed my wrist to rest ever so slightly on the lip of the seed dish.
It gave me enough comfort to stand there for just a bit longer.
Funnily enough, the little winter-loving birds were landing all around me,
Chirping and trilling their protestations
Against my invasive presence near their food source.
Squirrels regarded me with annoyance,
And fury-chirped at the boots crushing their midday repast.
But I stood my ground,
I finally turned into the tree,
My woolen hand now a branch,
A warped whorl in the trunk,
Pulsating deep within my heartwood.
Here and there,
A chickadee would notice me again,
And puff up the feathers on his neck and skull.
But he would still look at the seeds in my hand,
Yet peck one of the last among the empty shells from the bottom of the feeder;
I felt his resolve and his fear begin
So I continued to wait.
He jumped onto my finger
And then right off,
As if to test me,
To see if I pose a danger,
I squeaked a bit,
Out of excitement,
But told myself to be stoic
If I wanted him to do it again.
And he did.
But this time,
He stood on my finger long enough to take a tiny black seed,
And fly it
To another branch.
I stood a while longer,
And he did it again as other birds worked up their own courage.
But by then
My arm was numb,
And my toes in my thrifted muk-luks were frozen to the bone.
But at least I can say that a bird ate seed from my hand,
And it was kinda magical.
*** As they say, this one is for the birds, Angel Eyes…. ***
*** Well, I can’t disagree with that, Old Man. ***