Quite a mess, huh? —
Son left late one night, tired, had to go to work the next day. Outside porch light went on as we said good-night — but we lingered for some reason. And then we walked around. And then we smelled something.
I thought it was “biological” like someone had burned their stew in a big iron pot and then put the pot outside to cool. Son thought someone was having a late night . . . barbecue. Or marshmallow roast. Hot dogs, or something.
Instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying good-bye anyway, we lingered. Oddly. Like time was slowing down a bit. We walked around distractedly, sniffing “that smell” here and there. Son should have been going home.
But finally he said, “I want to get to the bottom of this.” Bemused. Why did he feel like that? Why was I curious too about such a faint smell?
I’ll omit all the odd coincidences which led us to the discovery that something inside of my porch light was scorching, smoking, and glowing with red embers!!!! It was a bird nest in my porch light that was heating up rapidly to the point of combustion! Son cleaned it up, made sure the wiring was okay — finally said good-bye, leaving me a bit shaken and so very grateful that I didn’t go to bed with that porch light on – the fire would have definitely spread . . .
A cardinal, this time. Building a lovely nest.
In my fear after that last near-fire episode, I had put duct tape over the switch that would turn on the porch light. No more heat possible, I hoped. I let Mama Cardinal have her way. She and her matronly protective maneuvers had priority for the next couple of weeks. I felt . . . well, a little “henpecked! I wouldn’t even use my own front door.
Finally, after much tip-toeing around, I was rewarded.
I was rewarded by little red fluffy lumps in the nest. How on earth the eggs didn’t fall through while Mama was sitting on them, I’ll never know.
I still didn’t get my front door back, though, and I couldn’t walk around freely for the next couple of weeks:
Feeding little babies is a constant job.
Even when Mama is gone, the mouths are still there —
Mama’s turn to be “henpecked.” I think she was more inconvenienced than I was.
They were so much fun to watch. And then one day they were gone. All gone.
I’m not henpecked anymore.
But I think I have the Empty Nest Syndrome.