Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Nuthatch

I have thought of Mary Oliver often lately as I believe she lives on Cape Cod and therefore has been "buried" in those historic snowstorms that have come on Boston and its surrounding areas. I wonder if she is able to write, most probably house-bound, surrounded by a world of white and silence and its own kind of beauty, once you handle the inconveniences and destruction such an amount of snow can bring.

Here's what she wrote once and since we have nuthatches at our feeders daily, it rings true.

Winter and the Nuthatch

Once or twice and maybe again, who knows,
the timid nuthatch will come to me
if I stand still, with something good to eat in my hand.
The first time he did it
he landed smack on his belly, as though
the legs wouldn't cooperate. The next time
he was bolder. Then he became absolutely
wild about those walnuts.

But there was a morning I came late and, guess what,
the nuthatch was flying into a stranger's hand.
To speak plainly, I felt betrayed.
I wanted to say: Mister
that nuthatch and I have a relationship.
It took hours of standing in the snow
before he would drop from the tree and trust my fingers.
But I didn't say anything.

Nobody owns the sky or the trees.
Nobody owns the hearts of birds.
Still, being human and partial therefore to my own successes--
though not resentful of others fashioning theirs--

I'll come tomorrow, I believe, quite early.

Mary Oliver