An Upcycled Presidential Bird House (Feeder)
It is just past 5am, and I am sitting in our kitchen in the dark except for the light of this laptop. There was also a small flame from the stove and it’s brief illumination, because my father-in-law made his cup of morning coffee. He heats the water on our gas stove in a small pot. He has gone back to his room now, and it’s just me with this laptop and my coffee and minimal light. I used to turn on the small overhead light above our coffee area, but I worry about the insect apocolypse and artificial human light disrupting insect circadian rhythm. So I type in the dark with minimal light.
I can hear the crickets outside our screen door. I know my makeshift birdhouse made from an old shoebox is just outside as well. It’s a funny little thing covered in small round plastic images of past presidents, that I cut and glued on from my favorite mousepad cover that Mr. Plastic Picker wanted to throw away. Now I get to look at those presidents still when I check my upcycled birdhouse. For some reason that birdhouse brings me so much amusement. Mr. Plastic Picker bought the premium birdseed for $20 and the actual birdhouse is made from things that were about to be discarded, a broken hanger, a cardboard shoe box, the plastic mousepad cover, a cardboard image of a Kodiak bear that adorns our pancake mix all hot glue gunned together. When I first sprinkled birdseed on top and then inside the birdhouse, I was unsure if any birds would come to my Upcycled Presidential Bird House (Feeder).
First came a black bird, which I am not sure if it was a crow or raven. But it was not a particularly pretty bird nor endangered. But a bird is a bird, and we are having a bird apocolypse as well so I was happy any bird visited. But then the small song birds started arriving. I noticed them first landing around the metal round cages we use to guide the tomatoes on the other end of our backyard. They would land there first, and then glide on over to visit the Presidential Birdhouse (Feeder). I just watched a fun youtube video on how to make an upcycled birdhouse from wine corks and asked for donations from my personal Facebook friends.
The birdhouse (feeder) is now a topic of conversation in our family. I wander over there at least once a day to check to see if anyone has visited and how much birdseed is left. When we sit at the kitchen table eating, we glance over when we hear our friends. And when I came home yesterday, my teenage children let me know that they saw some small birds had visited. When they told me that, I was so happy. I was happy that things that would otherwise have been discarded now help feed some birds, and helped bring music to our backyard. I was also happy because my children noticed the birds but also in my selfish way, noticed me.
I had gone to bed with a slight headache yesterday. I had thoughts about my career and how much longer I would stay in management. I feel like I finished what I set out to do after three years. I helped fixed our scheduling system. I’ve put my heart and soul into this position. Dr. Dear Friend and some of my close work friends have seen and helped me through each step of the entire process, but few know what a toll it’s taken on me. The system was so broken that as a working mother at points, I thought it might be easier to quit than subject my family to the whims of an unfair, capricious and grueling call schedule. When I joined our organization over a decade ago with two young children and a husband that was also adjusting to a busy call schedule, Mr. Plastic Picker and I almost reached a breaking point. I remember sitting in our car alone and parked along the side road near the private school where our son was enrolled and waiting to pick him. Our daughter has still a toddler and at home with our nanny. I don’t remember what the situation was, I think I needed to rush back to work evening clinic. I was having some inter-personal issues with our nanny and I’m sure felt like I was half-making it. I am sure I was stressed. But I remember sitting in that car and crying. I was a young pediatrician mother and I felt no one cared. I remember crying and questioning all my professional decisions. I remember just wanting to be home with my children. I remember thinking about divorce, returning to Boston, firing our nanny, questioning every financial and life decision we were making.
And now after really seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I know that I haved contributed to fixing our system. I have worked hard to fix this system because it is a system that I have to live in, but it is more because when I see the young pediatricians in our department now raising young children – I never want them to go through what I had to go through. I don’t want them to live in a work environment where decent people are so overworked and stressed, that decent people become mean, petty and selfish. I never want one of the young pediatricians that I recruited to sit and cry in their car about work, and feel like they don’t have someone to reach out to and that no one cares for their child. I felt that crashing feeling after one has been so happy. Because I started reliving the last three years, and what it took to get us to this point. The details of those steps are not important but reliving it is what gave me a slight headache, and why I went to sleep early last night. And after having realized I completed what I set out to do, I started to think about what is the next step professionally? Do I stay in middle management or ride into the sunset?
But the greatest gift that nature has given me is that nature has taught me to be fully present. To live in the here and now. I built this birdhouse from an old hanger, cardboard box, and decorated with plastic presidential faces from a mousepad and I gave it a fancy name- my Upcycled Presidential Bird House (Feeder). And it is a beautiful thing that I love. I’ve put birdseed in it that is high quality and nutritious. And initially some crows and ravens came, and they are allowed to feed. But now beautiful little song birds come to feed and rest in my house. And my children noticed the birds. And yesterday because of my birdhouse, I noticed a hummingbird resting on a tree. Have you ever noticed a hummingbird rest? And it had its beak pointed to the sky while it perched. I don’t think anyone can question that a hummingbird with it’s frantic life deserves a bit of a rest. But it will fly away later to continue it’s work.
The sun is up now and I can see my birdhouse in the natural light. The beach is open this morning, and I doing managerial tasks from home today due to COVID-19. But I will do a quick jog to the beach and watch the ocean for a bit. I will notice the birds along my route. The raven, the songbirds, the hummingbirds – and even the insects I have been worried about – are all part of this natural world.
***Our blog had a kind reader stop by and comment that what I made was a bird feeder not a bird house. I actually did not even stop and think about the difference! Some of the entries have been corrected for accuracy. I’m really excited that I made a Upcycled Presidential Bird Feeder. House sounds more romantic but I do want to be somewhat accurate. Thank you Thomas for stopping by the blog! And thank you for making bird homes. That’s even more important. I hope that we will have plenty of trees where birds may live as well.