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for the birds

A startling thing happened earlier this week when the girls and I were exiting the mudroom.


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I must pause already to tell you I love the word "mudroom." There has never been a room more aptly titled. A mudroom, in case you ain’t from ’round here, is a room to catch all of the snow, ice, and mud that happens from winter to spring. Mudrooms come in all manner of shapes and sizes and can be as simple as an enclosed front porch or as formal as an entire dry-walled room. Coming from the front porch rockers of the south, I was a bit put off at first by all of these glass huts in the front of people’s houses up here–they do obstruct the view of the front door, after all.

But by the time we were buying a home almost two years later, a mudroom became an obsessively important item on my homeowner’s checklist. Luckily, we ended up with a pretty good one. It’s not perfect, but it modulates the cold enough to keep shoes out there (and a mattress, as we currently do. Sigh. It’s a long story). Our mudroom not only prevents wind, sleet, snow, etc. from hitting our front door, but it also provides a sound barrier. And it is via this topic that I return to my original story.

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So the girls and I exit the mudroom, bracing ourselves for the cold, which does come as usual. But what causes us to pause in our snowy tracks is not the biting wind on this occasion but the sound coming from the trees.

Are those…birds? Vivi asks.

You know, I think you’re right, I hear birds too! I reply.

What are they doing here? Charlie wants to know, puzzled.

We go so long throughout the winter without hearing a peep from the cardinals and robins. When they finally return, their miraculous lovely tones are striking enough to cause a three-year-old–who barely remembers their existence–to scratch her head and smile at the strange beauty of life.

For the birds, today I am grateful.

p.s. Remember the old Pixar short film, For the Birds? I’m going to play it for the girls when they get home from school. It’s a great one!

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