By Andrea Rouda
EARLY THIS morning I noticed the bird feeder outside the kitchen door was almost empty. With the thermometer reading six degrees and everything under a blanket of snow and ice, I knew the little chickadees that flock to it each day were counting on me.
Donning my wool hat, snow boots and heaviest down coat, I entered our frigid garage which is where I keep the extra feeders and the bird seed. As I was filling the feeder I inadvertently knocked over a small uncapped jar of turpentine in which I was soaking a few paintbrushes. It went everywhere, mostly on me, dousing my sweatpants and my coat. This was not good.
I immediately went back inside and took off the coat and then the boots so that I could take off the pants and threw them into the washing machine (not the boots), hoping if I acted soon enough I could get rid of that strong turpentine odor that tends to linger for seemingly years.
Once again dressed in clean clothes and a warm jacket, I ventured outside and faced a new peril: Sharp, slick sheets of ice piled in odd angles led to the feeder hanging about four yards away. I took a few steps and slid crazily, grabbing onto a nearby tree branch to steady myself. Channeling the Italian downhill skier who won the silver medal in Beijing despite her torn ACL and fractured tibia, I told myself, “You can do this!” My cat, who had snuck out through the door left ajar, obviously disagreed. Smirking, he retreated into the house to avoid witnessing my inevitable fall. I considered giving up.
But the birds —they might starve! So I kept at it, pretending I was crossing the Khumbu Icefall on Mt. Everest without oxygen. That helped a lot. I made it, and with only a few crazy, out-of-control slips and slides. I may have screwed up my neck a little bit, and my left shoulder feels funny, but hey, I didn’t break any bones and at least the birds won’t go hungry. (Good thing I have a physical therapy appointment this afternoon.)
—Andrea Rouda blogs at The Daily Droid.