Monday, December 15, 2014

Bye bye, birdie.

Today has been one of those really, really, really crappy days. The kind where I'm reaching for Elliott Smith music as a security blanket. And I can only listen to Elliott when I'm a) too sad already that it won't get me down, or b) too happy that it won't get me down. Guess which I am?

The 9-to-5 was a wee bit frustrating. A good friend is having major health problems. And I no longer get to enjoy birds. That last part's been what's had me on the edge of tears all day.

Over the past 2 weeks or so, there's been a very enterprising squirrel visiting the bird feeders here. This squirrel has had to get itself up higher than the treetops to get to the feeders, which is no easy feat. I've had the feeders up since April, and no squirrel's bothered with them. But now it's winter, food is scarce, and they're hungry, so...enter one asshole squirrel. And one set of asshole neighbors downstairs, who complained that they saw the squirrel come up to eat at my feeders.

I don't think the apartment complex really cared too much, but apparently the complainers complained multiple times, so they had to call me about it. They didn't tell me to take the feeders down, but instead asked if I could modify anything so I could fix the problem but still keep the feeders (which was nice of them). I said sure, and I brought in all but one feeder, a small plastic thing that is suction-cupped to the window. It holds two small birds, or one big bird, and there are birds who have been depending on its food for months. Sparrows, chickadees, titmice, and more would show up every day to eat there. The blue jay, woodpecker, and nuthatch don't naturally eat at small feeders like that, but they managed to maneuver themselves into it so they could eat, too. And throughout these months, being so close--right on the other side of the glass--from these birds has allowed me to get some really cool insights into their unique and quirky personalities.

I figured there was no way the squirrel could get into the window feeder. Not only is the feeder small, but there's nothing that's really there for the squirrel to jump onto so it could get onto the feeder.

Or at least that's what I thought until today, when the jerkface squirrel got into it.

I figured that if the squirrel couldn't get at the window feeder, it would stop showing up, and no more complaints would happen. But since now it can get into there, in order to avoid complaints, I knew I needed to take it down. And it broke my fucking heart to do it.

Even worse, after I took the thing down and brought it in, a bunch of sparrows showed up. They sat on the railing, confused and chirping. Then two of them flew to the window, right where the feeder was, and hovered there. I seriously almost lost it.

The birds had come to depend on my feeder, and I had come to depend on the birds. Their sweet chirps cheered me up on sad days, and seeing their little faces through the window was entertaining. As long as I live here, I won't get to hear the nuthatch bark, see the sweet little chickadees fly up and grab sunflower seeds, enjoy the fearless titmouse watching me through the window, see the sweet injured sparrow chill out in the feeder, or enjoy seeing the mama cardinal or sparrow feeding their hungry, chirpy babies on my balcony.

Luckily I was already planning to move in the very near future, but this...this has pretty much sealed the deal. I feel like I lost pets. Outdoor pets, but still--pets. I'd grown to love them, and they'd grown comfortable with me. I can't have an indoor pet at the moment--I'm allergic to all things furry, and because the temperature in here is inconsistent (one of the main reasons I'm looking to move), I couldn't really have a betta fish or reptile here. More goals for the next place, I suppose.

It hurts my heart to look at the empty window now, and to know that my mornings will be strangely silent for the rest of my time in this place.

I tried to soothe my soul tonight with music and books. Listened to some old Elliott Smith. Bought some new-to-me Interpol, Arctic Monkeys, and Spiritualized music using a gift card. Finished one excellent book and began reading another that's really awesome so far. I made homemade gluten-free cupcakes. But there's still a lingering sadness I know I won't be able to overcome for a while.

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