Soon after we moved here, Scott hung this bird feeder up on my office window . It has a silver mirror panel, so the idea is, the birds can’t SEE IN and don’t know I am sitting here, trying to work on a new novel and desperate to be distracted, as I ALWAYS am in the beginning.
The feeder was up for more than four months, but it was apparently too spooky-close to the house for the delicacies within to be tempting. Then one day, only a few weeks ago, a little tufty headed fellow landed on top for a nanosecond. He peered in at me, trying to ascertain in a lightning pause if I might be a bird murdering sort.
He did ENDLESS perch-bys: land, crane, peer, flee, land, peer, crane, flee. Lather, rinse, panickedly repeat. Gradually his peerings got longer, and within a week, he was sitting down in there, gorging himself multiple times daily at his own private Seed Smorgasbord.
I named him Bravest Bird. After another week, he was joined by Second Bravest Bird, who was some sort of speckledy house wren, and then Yellow Stripe Eye, then Red Throat, and finally Little Fat Bluesy. Now I have a HOST of all five kinds, a constant stream of finches and wrens and bluebirds and I don’t know whats, and now it is impossible to tell if the current little tufty topped fellow is Actual Bravest Bird or Bravest Bird Cousin #97.
At first, the merest glimpse of Mango would send them scurrying, but once again, Bravest Bird came ANYWAY one day, and then again, and then AGAIN, and after watching him fail to be rended in twain, they started ignoring his existence.
Now they come no matter where my personal assistant is, be he in my lap, on Scott’s chair, or ON THE ACTUAL DESK just under the feeder. Every now and again, he will leap at the glass and bat at them, and even Bravest zips away. But then they all come right back.
It helps that Mango is an extremely low-key, groovy object, and mostly he lolls and MOANS at them. It is HILARIOUS. Most days, he can’t QUITE rouse himself to launch what he has learned is a futile attack, but he BLEATS like a goat, going EH-EH-EH-EH-EH in a quietly desperate murder-song. Sometimes, like in this picture, he moans it in his twilight cat-nap sleep, staring at them with through half-dreaming eyes, his feet clenching and unclenching, paws shredding imaginary versions of all my tufty little friends.
Mango is an EXCELLENT personal assistant, by the way. His duties include sitting on me and purring, insistently putting his hairy face into my lunch, rubbing his scent glands all over me, and napping on the router so that it overheats and crashes my system. He is EXCEPTIONALLY FINE at all these functions. Really, the best personal assistant since Gompers.
He is even more excellent than I DREAMED or even HOPED when I hired him—and my hopes were high. Sometimes, looking at the verdant rich orange glow of his silky perfection, I find myself crying out, spontaneously declaring my fervent adoration.
“OH! I LOVE YOU SO! I LOVE YOU SO!” I say, only to have my husband turn toward me, say, “I love you, too, Swee—Joss, are you talking to that cat again?”
Beloveds, you know I am MORE than passing fond of Mr. Husband, but sometimes? Sometimes, I AM talking to the cat in a tone that has here-to-fore been reserved for him. What can I tell you?
The heart wants what the heart wants.