We were gathered on the porch waiting for Sean to come home. My hair was dancing around my face in a neener-neener-it’s-humid halo and my feet were grubby and battered from puttering barefoot all morning. My arms were wrapped around my knees as I leaned back into the bench watching them.
Three stair step heads, swinging tousled tresses out of pale, bright and dark blue eyes. They were swinging legs and arms every which way over the balustrade and making sounds of exuberance that exhausted and lifted me at once. A navy masked bird of some variety kept swooping low and alighting on the birdfeeder before dashing away as if the girls were giving chase.
“Mama, why’s he go so fast like that?” Briar asked me.
“Well, honey, if they didn’t go so fast the kitties would get them.”
“Are all birds that fast?” She volleyed back nearly before I’d finished answering. I smiled, she is so ready with a question no matter the circumstances. I’m batting about 50/50 these days, wishing at times I knew more, all the while feeling grateful that I can say, “We’ll have to ask Daddy, he knows things like that.”
They kept watching the birds, their heads moving out of synch as the part of the flight that interested each girl was different. Ave watched where it came from, Briar watched where it landed and Fin eyed the bits of seed that skittered down the decking with each swing of the feeder.
“Why don’t you all sit on the step and see if they’ll fly over and land calmly?” I offered smiling at their wide, expectant eyes. They thundered to the step and then flounced down in unexpected, graceful unison. Several birds swooped out of a large tree and perched in the weeping birch to the right of the stairs. Avery gasped, “Maybe it will land on my finger.” She lifted her right hand and held it up toward the tree, while Briar lifted her left toward the feeder. Finley took both hands off of her knees and lifted them up and out in front of her, “Here a’birdie, birdie. Here’s my fingers.”
I watched them, my own breath held as if I were a fourth little girl not wanting to frighten the birds. My birds. My eyes washed over them, my windows. They see the world in ways I wouldn’t imagine, revealing the facets that I overlook.
As we sat, fingers and hearts outstretched, the birds came. They never landed on our fingers, but they came again and again. We answered with muted “hellos” and “look!’ It was magic as they came and went, and so it was that as I sat there with my three little girls and felt the magic again. It was all around me and I trusted that even though it sometimes leaves, it’s just to come back in a new way.
I wish you magic.