By Paul Otremba
For no reason at all this wren, this little mound
of pencil shavings. But what appears is too bleared,
too gray sluice of clouds covering the window
so the kitchen goes dim. So this wren eating beneath
scratches of juniper, of field grass, little mounds
of graphite in the beak. For no reason I let
the sauce simmer, the reduction gone syrup.
Then she enters, asking about the drawing, a turkey,
five fingers dragging a wind through the grass,
and the wren goes on with the little mounds of seed.
More questions arise about the timing, the meat of it,
the delicacy of a still, cold center. For no reason at all,
rosemary, Money Jungle, track "Fleurette Africaine,"
and the wren finds a hole in the rosebush,
while she places heavy plates in orbit around the table,
singing a wordless "Fleurette Africaine," a little wren,
a little monster, sweet door in the rosebush.
For no reason at all a monster in the wren's nest.
The plan for the day was to go to the Virginia Renaissance Festival, but we never made it, due to the forecast for rain and the fact that we slept terribly the night before due to the thermostat being set to heat instead of air conditioning and this error being discovered far too late for the house to be comfortable at a reasonable hour even with all the windows open. The smallish faire is nearly two hours away from where we live, and we were ambivalent about whether we were up for a drive so long when it might have been raining by the time we got there. Then Adam was invited to visit a farm with a friend, which he wanted to do as soon as he heard that there would be cows and swimming in a creek.
So we ended up having a relatively quiet Sunday. I talked on the phone for a long time with mamadracula, then we took Daniel to Target to replace his backpack, which has self-destructed too badly even to survive till the end of the school year. And then we had grilled burgers and corn with my parents, who are back from Georgia.
In the evening, we watched the National Memorial Day Concert on PBS rather than fighting the crowds downtown to hear it over speakers live at the Capitol. I know we're supposed to watch uncritically and let it tug at our heartstrings, yet I cannot help noting that Katherine McPhee is not up to singing Barbra Streisand's arrangement of "Somewhere," and Brian Stokes Mitchell overdoes "Go the Distance" even more than Michael Bolton...which is really saying something. However, Colm Wilkinson -- the best Phantom of the Opera I ever saw -- did "Bring Him Home" from Les Miz as movingly as ever. And after that I showed the kids the first episode of Slings & Arrows season three: "Who's gonna play Lear? Is it William Shatner?"
They live in the Amazon Rainforest section of the building, along with many other birds, a few small mammals, and many reptiles and fish.
I'm not sure what inspired this grooming menage a trois, but it was very amusing to watch.
And the bird in the middle appeared to be having a great time.
The scarlet ibises were mid-moult and were all more pink than red.
The Atlantic puffins are always hard to photograph through the thick glass of their habitat but I can never resist them.
This parrot, a pink galah, was sleepy when we visited the Australia habitat...
...but the tawny frogmouth was awake and suspicious, even though the flying foxes were off display for the day.