Wednesday, May 05, 2010


We had a tornado. Then a flood. Then our basement filled with water. Then we lost our air conditioner. And power. Then there was a trampoline on my truck. Then I rescued a baby starling from the flood and the rain. Then my sister had a baby. Then they said don't use the water. Then they said, "We're going to cut the water supply." Then they said, "We're not. Just use fifty percent less." Then the water receded and the electric company came in the middle of the night and reconnected our power two days later. Then someone said, "There's going to be a gas shortage, get your gas." Then someone else said, "Don't drink the water. Three people have died from drinking it." Then someone else said, "That's a lie, I contacted the water company." Then I went back to work and the toilets keep flushing for no reason. Then I said, "Hey, does someone want to STOP these toilets from flushing for no reason? We're supposed to conserve water!" And no one listened. Then some people were WASHING their cars at the car wash and they said, "Hey, I paid for it. The truck needs to be clean. Gotta be seen in a clean truck." Then I couldn't concentrate. Then I drank too much caffeine and began to emit a high frequency buzz as my nerves vibrated.

That brings us today. I'm still buzzing. Those events didn't happen in that order. They're sort of out of order, but I like the order in which I wrote them.

Looking again, the order is pretty accurate.

It's been pretty crazy. Someone said to me that they didn't want to rub it in that they haven't suffered, that their house is nice and dry, that they had electricity the whole time, that Nothing Really Happened to them. But I'm glad. See, then they can help out. We can all help out. But if we were all without homes after the flood and the wind, then we'd all just lie there in the mud like mud beetles, helpless, and drowning or burrowing. There is such a thing as a mud beetle, isn't there?

Anyway, a bunch of ants were coming into my house Monday night, and I felt kind of bad for them. Did the water get them too? But the ants come out every spring, sending out their little soldiers looking for food sources. So I killed them. Sorry ants. But if I don't kill them and they find a crumb or something that I somehow missed under the couch, then they keep coming in. The way they know to not go back to That Spot is if the soldiers don't return. Ask E. O. Wilson.

To balance out my ant genocide, I saved a baby bird. The bird will live and grow up and eat the ants. It's the circle of life. The girl at Walden's Puddle told me the featherless hatchling was a starling. I thought it was a robin, but either way, I don't discriminate against which birds I'll help.

Initially I put the bird in the dove nest in my barn. It snuggled up to the dove babies and I had such high hopes that it would be one of those amazing stories about some inter-species triumph a la ugly duckling and all that. I think it worked for one day. The next day the baby was on the ground and the mother pigeon gave me a really dirty look, as though to say, "Ha. You really think I'm that naive? I don't take care of interlopers, my dear. I've got my hands full with these two. Next time I'll peck its eyes out!"

I returned the dove's stare as though to say, "Listen, where do you think that bird seed comes from that you munch on every day? Bird seed doesn't grow on trees*?" Still, her steady, unblinking stare made me a feel a twinge of guilt.

But try as I might, I can't be as heartless and unfeeling as Mother Nature. I tried to leave the bird alone, hoping it would just die and go on to loftier things in heaven, but it was too rough on my heart and mind. Like killing a part of myself.

So I fooled my neighbor into taking care of it. Ok, that sounds terrible. I didn't really FOOL her. She's not a dummy. But she's got a terrier rescue already, so I kind of knew she had a big heart for animals.

Plus she had electricity. And time. And I had neither. So we worked it out and she fed the bird Monday night, then I took it to Walden's Puddle the next morning.

*I realize that many seeds DO come from trees. But bird seed doesn't just drop into a nice pile of food for a bunch of doves hanging out next to the bird bath. I admit I've trained the doves to think it does. And I know they'd survive without the seed I put out for them. I help them through the winter, that's all.

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