Feeding birds and a marriage


“The hummingbird feeder looks like it’s empty,” he says.

“Yes it does,” I answer from the front porch. A hummingbird is hovering in front of me, inquiring.

I hear activity in the kitchen, then silence. The hummingbird comes around again. Still no nectar?

I go into the house. He is back at his computer on the dining room table, which is his office when he is at home. (When it’s just the two of us we dine everywhere except in the dining room. On the porch or in front of the TV or, in winter, at the little table in front of the woodstove).

In the kitchen, nectar has been mixed in a glass measuring pitcher. The spoon is still in it. On the countertop stands an open bag of sugar. The drawer from which the spoon was taken is also open. The empty feeder is still hanging from the tree outside the dining room.

I look at the unfinished job and think about my choices. I could finish the job or I could remind (nag) him to finish it. This kind of reminder qualifies as nagging because I do it very, very often.

I bring in the empty feeder and put it in the sink. I wonder, is there a third choice–neither nagging nor finishing the job myself?

Yes there is. Waiting.

And so the hummingbirds and I wait. I write the above. I can’t resist recording this slice of married life that reveals the core of one of those little differences that make life with another person . . . interesting.

He has a way of taking projects in stages, projects that I would do in one fell swoop start to finish. He also has a way of always leaving something undone, like the required flaw in the Amish quilt. (Cleaning drain traps after cleaning up the kitchen is one of those things.) He claims, when queried (nagged), that he intended to finish these things later, I just didn’t give him enough time.

In this case I suppose he wants to give the sugar extra time to dissolve whereas I would just stir it vigorously for a little longer. So I give him the benefit of the doubt but I still doubt.

Now he comes outside, ready for the next stage of the job. “What did you do with the hummingbird feeder?” he asks. He hasn’t noticed that I brought it in.

“It’s in the kitchen sink.”

I wait some more. The hummingbird hasn’t queried in the last few minutes so I look around the corner and see that he has indeed refilled and rehung the feeder.

I stroll through the kitchen. The drawer that was open is closed. The bag of sugar is still open on the countertop. He is at his computer. He looks up. “What?”

“Nothing,” I say. “I’m just writing a blog.”

But he has read my mind. He gets up and closes the bag of sugar, puts it away.

Job done in his good time. No nagging.

3 thoughts on “Feeding birds and a marriage

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