Friday, February 19, 2010

Do you see it?

We were getting packed into the car, on our way to a nearby outdoor shopping center with lovely ambience – little squares of green grass where Evie can crawl and Aud and I can stretch out with a cinnamon roll and coffee – when I noticed a mourning dove swoop into our garage, a broken twig clasped in its beak.

“Audrey,” I said, “watch my finger. Do you see where it’s pointing? A mommy birdie is building her nest right up there in the corner below the rafter.”

Audrey craned her neck. The bird dove into the corner, fluttering and flapping, and disappeared. “Where?” she said, “I can’t see.

“Follow my finger.” Still flapping and fluttering, the bird reappeared. “There it is!” I shouted.

Audrey was incredulous: “He’s makin’ a nest?! In - in – in – here?”


I clambered around to the driver’s door but when I turned to buckle my seatbelt Audrey’s mouth was open and her eyes were filled with a mischievous twinkle. “Mom!” she said, “Wanna have a picnic, Mom? In the garage? Wanna do it?

My mouth went suddenly dry. I was all for picnics. But… well, with my Wordsworthian tree still in the forefront of my mind, these seemed… less than optimal conditions.

“We can have crackers and cheese,” Audrey went on (seriously), nodding her head in profusions of delight. “Wanna do it, Mom? Wanna do it right now?”

To my mind, a garage – even the word is ugly! - is naught but a necessary portal one must temporarily pass through in order to get in and out of one’s car. I risked a glance at the hung ladders and tools, the uneven shelves stuffed with dusty old boxes … and shuddered.

But looking back at Audrey’s irresistible expression of joy and wonder, I forced myself to let go of all my ideals. "Okay," I said. "Let's do it."

Once I had spread Dutch’s old blanket over the oil stains on the concrete floor and brought out a wood tray of cheese and crackers and old Valentine’s candy… it really wasn’t all that bad. In fact, it was rather wonderful.

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