Most unfortunately, the wet-dry vacuum cleaner has chosen this moment to give up the ghost, right in the middle of the worst rain the state has seen, maybe ever. So we are bailing out the basement with empty milk cartons and soaking up the puddles that remain with our largest towels.
The birds must continue to eat, though, and so I swam out to the feeder early this morning with a scoop of seed. All day they have braved the rain to come and dine: fat doves, red cardinals and their more sober wives, big blue jays and tiny sparrows, a fine specimen of a mockingbird. The squirrels, too, have taken their turn, seizing the opportunity offered them by the fact that the rain has washed off all the cayenne pepper I mixed with the birdseed as squirrel repellent.
The hummingbird feeders are all up and filled. So far, we have had no takers -- Ethel Merman is still on her way, I guess. I check the migration map at http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html to see how they're doing, and I see that some ruby-throats have been sighted in New Jersey already.
Just not Ethel.
I confess to some anxiety about her. She is so tiny, and it is raining so hard! And she has so far to come, all the way from Mexico or Costa Rica or wherever it is she spends her winters. What if something happens to her? What if she can't find enough food to sustain her for the journey? What then?
This I know: if she's alive, she'll be back. The Geranium Farm is hummingbird paradise. The food here is fabulous, and the flowers are not to be believed. We have lots of bugs here, too, and plenty of water to drink and bathe in, even when it's not raining cats and dogs. We have lots of bushes for perfect hummingbird cover, so nobody she doesn't want to see her will be able to.
And she has me, of course: her loyal, bird-besotted fan. Her faithful servant. I am ready. And just imagining her arrival makes me happy.
For birds and butterflies and gardens and gardeners and the grace of God, join me and some friends at beautiful Kanuga in Hendersonville, NC at the end of May. I'll be one of the keynoters, and will also sit daily with a small group of people who want to talk about writing. Maybe that's you? Visit http://www.kanuga.org/conferences/2007/gardens-grace.shtml to find out more and to register.
This weekend, April 20-22: Barbara Crafton is featured speaker for the Swindell Lecture at the Summit at Haw River State Park in North Carolina. Email Harrison Simons for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Sunday, she will preach at both services at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Burlington, NC.
May 13th, 7:30pm Barbara Crafton preaches at Dignity/NY. http://www.dignityny.org/
May 18-20 Barbara Crafton will speak at a conference of the Diocese of Maine Commission on Aging.
May 27-31 "Gardens and Grace" at Kanuga
June 2nd Barbara Crafton will lead a Quiet Day at St. James Greenville, SC http://www.stjamesgreenville.org/