Bird Days

Bird Days

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

It was a warm, sunny day, and I left my front door wide open for fresh air. I then busied myself with the chores of the day. Suddenly, I heard the sweetest musical note coming through the open door. I looked out to see a rosy colored, male house finch sitting on the hanging begonia planter. He was apparently calling to his mate, because she quickly came flying in to join him. They buried themselves in the middle of the pot, under the leaves, wriggling and chattering, and, finally, they flew away. I wondered, “Are they planning to use the planter for a nesting site? Should I allow them to demolish the flowers, knowing also that they can leave an untidy mess on the porch? The birds may be back any time now with building materials, so I’ll have to decide quickly.”

While I was trying to make a decision about whether to encourage or discourage such a venture, Mother Nature solved the problem. The sky grew dark. It thundered, and the rain came with the wind. Lightning streaked through the atmosphere, and the rain just poured down.

Apparently, the birds found a sanctuary more suitable than my front porch and did not return to nest in the hanging begonia planter. They only came to the feeding station out back to share in the daily ration of sunflower seeds and, of course, to give me much enjoyment in watching them.

I’m what they call, “a birder.”

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

Smells: Like Windows to a Wonderful World

English: Ocean Isle Beach, North CarolinaSmells:  Like Windows to a Wonderful World

by Angie Brown, Guest Author

We look ahead as we walk forward.  We look to the right and to the left when we cross the street.  We gaze at store windows and shelves to shop for merchandise.  We notice people rushing here and there, always looking.  Whether we’re bathing, playing or working, we use our eyes to recognize familiar things and faces.  Truly, our eyes are very important and necessary to our everyday lives.

But the sense of smell is also important and necessary; it can give us the feeling of both the past and the present. Oceans and sandy beaches, with their fishy smells, bring back memories of visiting Myrtle Beach or North Carolina Beaches with our southern relatives.  My granddaughter once commented, “It’s the smell of the south.” The musty moss and evergreen smells take me back to when, as children, we walked through the woods picking ground pine.  On our way to class, we often noticed the tantalizing smell of fresh bread coming from a nearby bakery.  The smell of chlorine greeted us when entered the YMCA pool area. And every classroom and locker room in school had their own distinctive smell.  You wouldn’t need to see it, because the smell would give it away!

The smells of the present are just as characteristic. A barnyard can be either pleasant or not so pleasant, but, either way, it’s a mighty homey smell to the farmer!  City streets have a different smell.  It’s a combination of several odors all mingled together: car exhaust pipes, trucks loaded with building supplies and dump trucks filled with debris all produce odors that are compounded into one strange mixture. Then there’s the smell of oil or gas as you pass a refinery or fill your car’s gas tank.  Stopping suddenly brings a smell of burning rubber. When lawns are mowed, there’s a sweet smell of clover blossoms and grasses in the air. Tightly closed houses in the winter may develop a stuffy smell, until Fido or your pussycat lingers at the open door before venturing out. After a heavy rain, the outdoors has a damp fungus smell for a day or so, but, eventually, the sunshine dries things out and removes it.

We all have our favorite smells, of course. One of the most pleasant smells I can think of is that of a home-cooked family meal on the stove, when everyone looks forward to dinner at the end of the day. But the best smell — one that can only be described as heavenly — is the soft, cuddly, precious newborn baby smell.

We need smells, along with our seeing eyes, to fully experience and appreciate the wonderful world around us!  What are you smelling right now?

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)