Pigeons and sparrows drink from a green, cement bird bath

It’s Saturday

The garden as seen from my mother's bedroom window
Her view of the garden

I sit in the quiet. I like the quiet. It’s Saturday. The air is chill. The sun hasn’t reach the garden yet. It teases from the rooftops of neighboring homes. In the summer it shines down directly over the garden rendering it impossible to sit and challenging to breathe. This morning I swept the patio, brushing dust and stones back into place. I even swept the pavers. Then, I filled the feeders and came inside. I sat on her sofa to wait for the birds to come.

A sparrow perched on a back yard bird feeder
Sparrows were her favourite


I want it to look lovely for her. She always liked things tidy and in their place. Now I have to keep it that way, don’t know when she may be looking. I don’t want to disappoint her.

The sparrows live in the Oleander bush outside the kitchen window. I should call it a tree actually, or perhaps just an enormously overgrown bush. I don’t think the sparrows care what I call it. They call it home. They live there because she kept the feeders full for them every day. With a steady food supply, only a fool bird would live anywhere else.

A large pigeon and two small sparrows sip water from a green cement bird bath
Pigeons and Sparrows share water

The pigeons and doves also come. They are a bit large for the feeders but that doesn’t stop them from trying to land there. They flutter their wings and twist to perch themselves, swinging the feeder slightly till they gain balance from its imbalance. Gently swinging, they dive their beaks into the seeds, eating a few and cascading a shower below for their comrades. The foragers amble over the patio, pavers, and stones pecking at the seeds that fall between. The garden is busy and full of life when the birds come. No wonder she loved to watch them. It’s a show whose theme remains the same but not a single action repeats. It’s difficult to pull my eyes away for fear that I’ll miss something.

I wanted to see them today…in the quiet. Do they know that she is gone? Do they feel her absence like I do? The stories from now belong to us. Her story has gone to print, no more edits or redos. And those of us left behind Chinese whisper the details.

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