My Fantasy Was Attacked By Realities Of Nature


The cottage that Mark and I are renovating is starting to be more fun. The house was inhabited by smokers for all of its 66 years, and I don’t know what colors the interiors started out, as but everything was tinged yellow when we bought it. After months of weekend work, scrubbing and painting, we’re finally on the home stretch here.

Mark has almost all the crown molding up in the kitchen, the major appliances have been delivered, every room has been painted and the carpeting for the bedrooms is being delivered next week. The window panes have been scrubbed ’til they twinkle, and I feel like Snow White when I stand at the window looking out. In fact, we had the front door open last week, and the tweeting of the birds outside was distinctly Disneyesque.

“Listen to that!” I hollered to Mark between surges of the air compressor. “It’s like being in an animated movie!”

Then I skipped gaily (I felt it was required) out onto the front porch where, movie-like, tragedy struck. I could almost hear the booming of that huge sheet of tin Disney used to mimic thunder. It was as if the sky turned dark and lightning flashed in the distance. For, on my tiny front porch, where the white picket railing sports a flowerbox full of happy little flowers, were two little robin’s eggs, both broken. A third lay in the grass nearby.

The horror!

When I had found a nest in one of the Boston ferns I had hung up on the porch, I was elated. I felt it was nature’s way of welcoming me. I never expected actual eggs, and now, to see them decimated like that, I was outraged. As imaginary violins screeched a long, high note in the background, I whirled my head around, looking for the culprit. And, with movie-like timing, here he came — a cat. A black cat no less, crossing my path to revisit the scene of the crime.

He hopped nimbly onto the wicker table, then the flowerbox, where he pawed at the fern containing the now-empty nest. Nonchalant as ever, he hopped to the floor to sniff at his damage, and eventually sauntered off to see what havoc he could wreak next door.

Saddened, I went to the grass and picked up the remaining intact egg and placed it gently back in the nest, knowing in my heart that the mother would never come back for it. I tried to cheer myself up by imagining myself in one of Disney’s nature shorts (“It’s ‘survival of the fittest’ in this wild world, where birds must lay eggs and cats must hunt”), but it didn’t help. “Survival of the fittest” would have me loading a big cartoon-like blunderbuss and blowing the cat to smithereens — probably not such a good idea as the newest neighbor on the block.

But reality has begun to settle in at my fairytale cottage. I suppose there are probably taxes on the place, too.

Ah, Walt Disney, we miss you so.