Late spring quarantine

I’m handling the pandemic-related isolation better than some people, thanks in no small part to my natural tendency to isolate during the best of times. I don’t know if I can be rightly called an introvert, but I’m just as content spending a quiet day alone, reading, as I am going out to do things with other people. It’s a drag not to have much say in the matter, but I’m getting by.

Besides, there’s gardening and bird watching to do.

My yard isn’t the largest, nor the most interesting, but there’s enough space for several small gardens, flowers here and there, lilac bushes, a few trees, and a bird feeder and bird bath which have been much busier than human restaurants and pools lately.

The gardens have been a bit anxiety-provoking, though. Late last month the weather was turning wonderful and I made the mistake of trusting it. New England loves the winter, and will drag it back six times before it finally lets it go for good.

I planted rosemary, sage, chamomile, and marigolds once temperatures were firmly in the forties at night. Then a week later the thermometer started dropping below freezing again, and we were treated to a couple of late spring dustings of snow.

Finally it looks like the cold is all behind us now, and my garden seems to have survived. I won’t know about the rosemary for another day or so, though. It’s a strange sort of plant. Doesn’t seem know it’s dead until about a week after it dies.

I have faith. Even planted some mint yesterday, but I’m holding off on the morning glories and basil until next week.

Morning glories. I’ll let you hypothesize as to why a wizard might want them around, but I planted them last year and didn’t get a single flower. This year I’ve changed up how I’m planting them in the yard, and I’m also going to try growing some in containers.

With any luck, I’ll be swimming in them.

Garden panic aside, it’s been a decent spring. The birds have been especially fun to watch this year. Cardinals, chickadees, and titmice swing by daily, as do grackles, blue jays, and mourning doves. There are others upon others, but my favorites are the wrens that just showed up.

We have a pair of birdhouses tucked away among the lilacs, and every year at least one becomes a home for a pair of wrens. I watch as some enterprising male comes by, gives the place a once-over inspection, then begins the process of building a nest within.

My ten minutes of ornithological Googling tells me this about wrens:

The male builds several nests, stopping just short of completing them. It’s the bird equivalent of getting the frame and walls up.

After he’s got a few nests to this nearly-done state, he starts chirping and singing for a mate. “Hey ladies!” And all that.

At some point, a female flies over, and the male wren takes her around and shows off his handiwork (wingiwork?). He leads her over to the house, she pops in, checks it out, he leads her over to the others he’s built.

If she likes one of the nests, she finishes it off, and they hook up.

That’s a lot of work. And it should really make you think about the relationships you’ve settled for in your life.

How many prospective mates have built you multiple houses and let you take your pick?

I don’t know what it is about them, but our birdhouses are straight-up love shacks. Every single year, a wren builds a nest in one, and gets lucky within a day. And if the happy sounds I’m hearing come of the house are any indication, this year is no exception.

So that’s quarantine for me. Playing in the dirt, watching birds, and trying to use every moment of isolation as I would any other.

That’s probably a decent sort of formula for everyone to follow just now.

If you can’t connect with human persons, connect with the non-human ones.