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A Paramour of the Outdoors, I Am Not

Life with a black thumb

by Karen Webb  |  3131 views  |  1 comment  |        Rate this now! 

I’m not what you call an outdoors person. Never have been and probably never will be. The only way I’d go camping is with a blow-up bed, my Thermapedic pillow and a portable generator to power my blow dryer and espresso machine. Hiking is fine… if between two five-star bed-and-breakfast inns (with your pack being transported to the next destination for you). The rest of it, you can keep.

My thumbs are black, and those who know me joke about my lame attempts at keeping even cacti and aloe plants alive. Unlike Midas, who had the golden touch, I seem to have the touch of death when it comes to things that live outside the environs of my home. Maybe it’s a curse?

In any event, every spring I make the trip to the garden center, buy a bunch of flowers and a couple hanging plants, and then make bets with my husband about how long it’ll take before I kill all the plants. It’s my annual ill-fated attempt at being a nature-lover.

Last year, however, I also bought a bird feeder thinking that although I couldn’t figure out how to feed a geranium, cherry tomato plant, or herb garden, I could at least figure out how to feed the birds who made their home in our 1.6 acre plot of the great outdoors.

I filled the long cylindrical feeder with twice-as-expensive organic birdseed (not wanting to inadvertently hurt my little winged friends with chemicals that could stunt their development). I hung the feeder off the far end of the deck, in the exact position to be admired from my place on the couch where, with my laptop, I do most of my writing. For a few weeks, it was perfect -- bright sun, blue skies, brown wilting plants, and the birds at the bird feeder. Who could ask for anything more?

On a misty Sunday morning, I filled my coffee cup with brewed espresso and took my place on the couch with my laptop nestled comfortably atop my thighs. I glanced up through the windows onto the deck and to the bird feeder, and to my surprise, saw a squirrel clinging to it. For a moment, I was enthralled. I had wanted to help keep a little wildlife, fauna or flora, alive, and with this bird feeder, not only was I feeding the birds, but in actuality I was also feeding the cute little rodents who jumped between my trees. I was very proud of myself.

I put my laptop aside, set down my coffee, and walked toward the window to take a closer look at this wonderful accomplishment. That was when I noticed that the squirrel was not clinging to the bird feeder, he was hanging from it.

About the Author

Karen Webb is a freelance writer, screenwriter, and marketing consultant who lives in the Boston area with her husband and two children.

Read more by Karen Webb

1 comment so far...

  • Oh my god! Really, there was nothing you could do for the poor furry creature, but holy cow, how traumatic! Yes, that would put me off to birdfeeders, too.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 26th January 2008