Catskill Weekend

J was my husband’s college roommate and the two have been very close since then.   In fact J and his wife K are among our closest friends  –  we’ve vacationed and travelled abroad together,  traditionally spend New Year’s Eve as a foursome,  and are always there to share each others’  joys and sorrows.

Yet although I love J,  he once did something I found hard to forgive.

It was many summers ago and we were spending the weekend at J and K’s house in the country.   It was a glorious summer morning and we brought our coffee cups out to the porch when I noticed a small birds nest in the eaves.

“How sweet!”    I said to J,  pointing up at the nest.

“Their droppings on the porch aren’t so sweet.”  he grumbled,  “That nest is a damn nuisance and I’ve been meaning to get rid of it.”

And with that he went to get the garden hose,  aimed it up at the eaves,  and soon the nest came tumbling down.   As I watched in dismay I saw two tiny fledglings falling with it,  the force of the water sending them far out on the lawn.

“How could you?”   I demanded of J,  bursting into tears.  I grabbed my coffee cup and matched back into the house,  slamming the door behind me.

Later that morning we drove into town to have lunch at a lovely country inn.   I was still smarting over the birds nest,   and J sensed it.   He asked for my forgiveness and,  a bit begrudgingly,  I lifted my wine glass and forgave him.

After lunch we lingered in town,   and when we got back home the lawn was in late afternoon shadow.   As we walked toward the house I thought I saw something moving in the grass and curious,  I approached.

There lay one of the fallen birds,   helplessly fluttering it’s wings.   And then I saw the mother bird swoop down and,  as I watched awe-struck,  she hovered for seconds,  and dropped a precious morsel into a tiny open beck.   She then flew off,  certainly to return again and again.

How many times was that life-and-death drama reenacted on that small patch of ground?   How many times,  I wondered,  while oblivious,  we lunched in town,  looked at dusty antiques and paintings by local artists,  and stopped at the farm stand for sweet corn and perfect tomatoes.

Dana Susan Lehrman


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