The wren outside my window
Published 7:58 am Friday, February 11, 2022
I remembered to write it down this year:
When my personal harbinger of spring vocalizes his anticipation of warmer and longer days.
I speak of a Carolina wren who, I’m told by ‘allaboutbirds.org, is male, as only the male wren sings. I can’t imagine it’s the same bird, because it’s been going on for a few years now, but before spring officially declares itself with a multitude of birdsong in an intoxicating chorus, there’s been this ‘one voice crying in the wilderness,’ that, come February, serenades the dawn (or a potential mate) while it’s still quite dark—5:30 am. Every morning, directly outside the kitchen window. And always in the same Sasanqua Camellia bush–and always as I take my first sip of strong black tea to start the day. Uncanny.
(This just in: Mr Google says the average lifespan in the wild of a Carolina wren is 6 years, so it could be the same guy!)
This time of year on the farm we are encouraged from the endless dark and cold treks to the barn each morning by the punctuation of the first emerging daffodils, always a treat to see. The days are subtly longer and it won’t be too long before the spring peepers, emerging into the pond, begin their incredibly loud and incessant proclamations that spring indeed has sprung. How a creature that weighs 3 1/2 grams doesn’t blow out its own ear drums beats me.
But it is this same little wren that captivates my heart and, as a sappy romantic, I like to think we have this sort of unspoken bond: his to bid me good morning and lift my heart, mine to appreciate his efforts with affection. Sometimes I raise my mug towards the bush on the other side of the window to illustrate my gratitude. And now that I’ve marked the date of when he has first given a song this year, it will be fun to see if it’s actually the same date next year.
All of us, I think, have said of animals, “if only they could speak,” so they could tell us what they’re thinking or feeling. And, of course, they do, but as most of us aren’t even bi-lingual, there is little chance we could understand what they’re saying. As I don’t want my fantasy crushed, I’d actually rather not know, because more than likely it is a mating call and who’s to say it’s not as equally offensive in bird-talk as is often heard in the human world. For all I know, Carolina wrens might be flinging coarse remarks to female wrens like a bunch of hard hats on a building site:
“Hey, babyyyyy! Do fries come with that shake?”
“Can I see your tan lines?”
And, of course, she’ll retort with a glare that she’d prefer someone further up the food chain.
In the meantime, I’ll enjoy this fellow for what he means to me: friendship, spring, and time to go to work.