7.3.18 Found on the lime tree
Long hours are spent propped up on pillows in my bed just now. From here, I can see through the window to a grubby back street of our neighbourhood. My view is of stiff red-bricked chimneys and drunk garden fences, bleached by weather. The grey house opposite makes a thick stripe down the right-side edge of my window, and the space it leaves to its left frames the one lone tree that has worked its way through the hard scrub of the pavement's edge. My lime tree.
Soon I will watch it swell and turn green, blocking the sky, but for now, it is still all finger and bone. A shape appeared in its branches last week, sagging red and limp from a lower limb. For days, I have guessed it to be debris from the storm, or something careless and putrid, knotted and tossed there by someone who doesn't give two shits for my view but who had collected one. It was only today I got over there to see what it was.
Bird feeders. Cheap and cheerful Poundshop fare. At least four that I could find, a coconut filled with fat strung up in the hoary underbrush, and more like the red seed feeder I had spied zip-tied and dotted around the lower branches. Someone without a garden to hang them in, for they are a rare commodity here, must have also sat and worried about frail bodies and hungry beaks during last week's snow.
Riotous charms of goldfinches and long-tailed tits career their way around these streets, blue tits and great tits too. I hear each individual song from my bed. Sparrows in the gutters and wrens in the beech hedges, chaffinches and greenfinches in the untidy conifers, all small and as chaotic as the rest of us.
Someone here, nearby, must know them as I do. They must have made their way out in the snow and bought the feeders and hung them like baubles over the dirty pavement. Bright offerings to life and care and remembering.
Whoever you are, I love you.
I will never stop being surprised by how good life is. I will never stop being surprised at the tenderness we hide.
Note: Our kind friend wasn't to know, but net feeders aren't ideal for birds so if you're thinking of doing the same in your neighbourhood trees, try to pick unnetted products.