Too Cold to Leave Home
By: Jillian Buswell
It’s usually pretty easy to describe the weather, especially with all of the words we have. Hot, warm, cool, temperate, cold, but the past few years it’s been hard to describe. One day it’s a nice cool autumn day and the next it’s blazing like mid summer. Winters always feel too warm, spring and fall can never make up their minds. I felt like it would be like this forever and when winter rolled around I expected it to be different.
I picked up the heavy bag of bird food and took it outside. I could hear the sounds of birds chirping from on top of my roof and fence, just waiting for me to fill their feeder. I looked up at them, cardinals, sparrows, finches, robins, even a few starlings hiding in nearby trees.
“Birds shouldn’t still be around here in December,” a voice made me jump, I turned to see my grandma sitting on a chair with a book in her hands, “They all should be flyin’ down to their beach houses Florida.”
I shrugged, “It’s still warm, they probably think it’s still autumn.”
I filled up the bird feeder with the food, it was a mixed assortment of seeds that we bought at our local supermarket. The moment I hung the feeder back up and took a few steps back, a group of small brown sparrows flocked to the small wooden feeder. It was the kind that was like a plate or a box that was cut in half, the birds would stand on the sides (or in the middle but I always thought of them as being a bit snobbish) and eat the food that would lay in the center.
I met my grandma by her chair, her book was now closed and on her lap, her eyes fixed on the birds.
She smiled up at me “would you be a dear and make me some tea?”
I walked back inside and into the kitchen, the christmas decorations were hung up in the living room and I could hear the tv playing the news from where I stood.
“Good morning everyone,” said the man on the tv, “Today is a lovely Saturday morning, it will stay around 70 degrees today. It’s been a pretty warm winter so far but it might not stay this way for long.”
My head shot up, I had been waiting to hear those words for the past month.
“Next week we are predicting very low temperatures, around 40 to 20 even maybe some snowfall on Wednesday or Thursday, just in time for christmas, and now back to traffic.”
I bolted back outside, almost forgetting about the hot tea in my hand.
“Grandma!” I exclaimed, “The weatherman said it’s gonna snow next week!”
Grandma just sighed, “they say that every year and it never does.”
I groaned “Come on grandma, have a little faith this year. One year they’ve gotta be right and maybe it’s this year.
Grandma smiled, “you’ve always been more hopeful than me, I guess we’ll see.”
It was Wednesday morning, I lay in my bed, blinking the sleep out of my eyes. I looked towards my window to see a soft white glow shining through. I jumped up to see a thick layer of snow covering the ground outside. I jumped out of my bed and ran downstairs.
“Grandma!” I exclaimed, “it snowed!”
Grandma was already sitting on the couch in front of the t.v. watching the news.
“I know,” she smiled, “now why don’t you feed the birds, they should be hungry.”
I grabbed the bag of bird food and headed outside. I looked up and saw all of the birds sitting on top of my roof and fence, anxiously waiting for me to fill up their feeder. I felt a pang of sadness for them, it must be so cold for them and they didn’t even have a house like me.
When I hung their feeder back up they all flocked to it, hardly waiting for me to leave. I watched the snowflakes fall onto their feathers and seeds. I felt like I could stand there and watch them all day, but the cold soon became too much for me to handle and I went inside.
I found my grandma sitting on her chair, watching the birds through a window.
“My don’t they fly south now?” I asked .
“Well it’s too cold, they would probably freeze on their way there,” she explained, not even taking her eyes off of the foggy window. “We just have to make sure they are well fed until spring.”
Just after she spoke a group of starlings came and scared away the smaller birds.
“All of the birds?” I asked as I watched the starlings eat happily as the smaller birds watched from nearby trees.
“All of them,” she replied.
The day felt long, yet short. I spent it watching the feeder and making sure it didn’t fill up with too much snow and making sure the smaller birds were getting enough food. A part of me felt like I wasted my day, but the other knew I had nothing better to do.
As the sun began setting setting, I made my final trip to the feeder before I went to sleep. As I filled up the feeder I looked around, there were no birds on my roof or fence.
They all probably went back to their nests, I thought. But as I hung up the feeder I noticed a motionless shape lying in the snow. I bent down, using only the light that came from my house to see it.
It was a small sparrow cold and alone on the snowy ground. I covered my hand with my sleeve and gently tapped it. It was silent but I felt like something was still there.
I ran inside to get my grandmother. If it was too cold for them to fly south, then I would make it warmer.