Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Fiona was the only one who wanted to come to the GRUBS garden with me this afternoon to do a bit of digging. I wanted to make some progress back-filling the marsh-garden-in-progress. She watched, and dug, and scrabbled around a bit, got hot, sat in the shade, came back, got bored and asked to go home.

"Yeah, okay," I said. "In a few minutes."

I finished levelling out the rim where the liner lies. Then I looked over at the sunflowers. They're immense, and gone to seed, and the birds were having a heyday plucking the seeds out.

"Hey Fiona," I said, sitting down on the picnic bench a couple of metres from the nearest sunflower, "look at the birds having a feast."

She came over and slid up onto my lap. We sat there, entranced, for half an hour or so. We whispered to each other, noticing the chickadees and red-breasted nuthatches lining up on a series of perches and taking turns. The nuthatches were "bossier". The chickadees were "crazier." They went back into the forest for a few minutes and had "a bird party" with lots of calling back and forth. We listened to the competing calls of the two species. We noticed differences in their flight patterns and in how they attacked the sunflower seed heads. We speculated about where they were putting all the seeds. We tried to count the birds. We just sat together and tried to notice everything we could.

"I like doing this," Fiona whispered. "This is my favourite thing. I want to stay here forever."

Well, we didn't. Eventually we decided it was time to go home. But it was an absolutely magical half hour for both of us.

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