Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Animal Writes Blogfest

CURRUIRA (Troglodytes aedon)Image via WikipediaI need a break from all the serious around here lately and luckily, Dayana Stockdale is hosting the Animal Writes blogfest today. So without further ado, here's nothing to do with my WIP - a short piece about my dear friend, the house wren. Troglodytes Aedon.

The Cardinal in the wax myrtle across the yard sounds the alarm with two shrill notes.  Squirrels scamper into the hedgerow for cover and I crouch low in the leaves.  I stay perfectly still, camouflaged in the mottled brown litter around me with only a few small branches of a bush turned bright autumn red above. Too exposed. My heart hammers in my chest, high and fast like a hummingbird.

His shadow circles on the ground a few feet away from me, then the hawk dives into the high grass at the edge of the lawn, where I'd been a minute before. He spreads his wings out over the catch. 

The hawk is alone, so after a few minutes of quiet, the Jay gets bold and starts to pester him. None of us like his kind in our neighborhood. Only the Jay is stupid enough to let him know it. Hawk looks up from his kill and lets out a piercing cry. He's annoyed but he takes the hint. The field mouse hangs limp in his claws as he flies away. He won't go far, just up into the trees on the ridge. 

I shake out my feathers and fly up to the firethorn besider the shed, where I can preen the leafmould out of me. Methodically, I select one long feather after another. Then I run down the length of each one with my beak until every filament is properly placed. I jab at a passing wood louse who disappears between the cedar shakes. His friend isn't as lucky.

The sun is already listing to the west, skimming the treeline and turning the sky shades of honey and raspberry. My mate trills out his lovely song, calling me from the poplar near the house. He's hopping around from branch to branch, with his tail feathers stuck straight up in the air. I know he's hoping for a gecko to reveal itself in the flower boxes. The larger birds are flitting over to the birdbath for a quick drink before they settle in.  It's a good idea, but I opt for a smaller puddle in the granite stone under the birch, where I'm safer.

Then I fly up to the gauze curtain on the gazebo. For the past three years we've summered there each evening. Except when the people have parties, then we find an unoccupied branch in the bush and take our chances with Owl. Tonight there's no one about so we each tuck into our fold of fabric and I turn my head under my wing, waiting for the tree frogs to lull me to sleep.


LTM said...

ooo! I love it--esp the part about the honey & raspberry. And the tree frogs. :o)

Aleta said...

Beautiful! And what a neat idea. I could melt into the words and let me be the bird :)

Unknown said...

I thought about doing this blogfest but didn't know what animal I wanted to be. You story is great though.

Rachna Chhabria said...

What a wonderful post. I got completely carried away with the bird Troglodytes Aedon. It is beautifully written. I planned to do a bird but then I chose a tiger for other reasons. Thank God for that; my bird post would not have been as good as yours.

N. R. Williams said...

Wonderful story Holly. I thourally enjoyed it.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

N. R. Williams said...

Oops, mu bad, I said Holly and I meant Carolyn
N. R. Williams, fantasy author

Jules said...

Wow, this was angelic. I loved the writing great job. :D

I wish mine had been this well done but I entered at the last moment.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Golden Eagle said...

This is a beautiful entry! I love the way it's described, and wrens are such pretty birds. :)

Southpaw said...

I agree, this is a beautiful piece.

J.C. Martin said...

This was well-written. I liked your wren's voice!

Dayana Stockdale said...

Sweet and beautiful! I do wish I could get to see that party though, and know what's up with Owl :) I like the personalities that are instilled into the different birds. Thanks for participating!! Glad it got you out of seriousville for a little while, now back to it, right?

Missed Periods said...

Lovely writing. I especially love the heart hammering like a hummingbird line.

roh morgon said...

Very sweet story. I love the vivid details of preening and getting the wood louse. You captured a brief slice of these little songbirds quite well.


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