Charlie’s Room: The Birdbath

Isaac looked out the kitchen window as he dried the large stewpot. The crisp winter weather was perfect for stew, and he was happy to have some already packed away for his lunch tomorrow. He smiled and hummed and put the stewpot away. Time to wash the frying pan.

He glanced out the window again. It still surprised him that the rosemary was blooming.   Was there any weather that plant didn’t like? In the summer it had grown in the heat that had wilted the plants around it, even when they’d been watered daily. And now, as the weather began to turn bitter cold, it was blooming.

Perhaps rosemary was an alien plant. Mentally, he added it to the list of odd plants that just didn’t seem to follow the rules. It wasn’t as strange as pineapple though. Or onions. Few things were as strange as onions.

Something small circled the branches of the rosemary plant, hovering over the blooms. It looked like a hummingbird. However, it was December. Could it really be a hummingbird?

Isaac set the pan back into the sink and went to get his coat and scarf. Marianne and Charlie were in the living room reading. “Hi Dad,” Charlie said as Isaac walked past. “Can you check my homework after I finish this? I just have one chapter left.”

“Of course,” Isaac said. “I’m not finished with the dishes yet.” He ducked into the entryway and pulled his coat and scarf out of the closet.

He put them on and walked past the living room again.   “Where are you going?” Marianne asked.

“I think I saw a hummingbird by the rosemary,” Isaac said.

“It’s December,” Marianne said. “You probably saw a leaf blowing around or something.”

“I just want to check,” Isaac said.

Marianne smiled, nodded, and went back to her book.   Isaac went through the kitchen to the back door. The hummingbird was still there. It was definitely a hummingbird. As he walked closer, it flew over the fence into Miss Marta’s yard.

The fence was just low enough that Isaac could watch the hummingbird zoom towards a shallow birdbath at the edge of the yard.   It hovered over the surface of the water, and then it dove into the water. And then the hummingbird disappeared.

There was no splash or sound or flash of light.   The water didn’t even look disturbed.   One moment there was a hummingbird, diving towards the water, and the next it looked like it dove through the water without touching the water at all, and then it was gone.

The birdbath was plain, made from what looked like concrete or gray stone of some sort. The water looked normal too. Isaac looked around Miss Marta’s yard. There were a lot of birds there, even though the weather was too cold to normally see this many birds. He could see a robin, and a widgeon, and was that a pelican? Why was there a pelican here?

Miss Marta came out her back door just then, tossing out handfuls of seed and a few fish. The birds dove at the food, some taking their spoils straight to the birdbath and disappearing inside. Others ate first before leaving. It was amazing.

When the clamor had died down a bit, Miss Marta looked around at her yard. She looked up at Isaac and froze, looking a little worried. Isaac smiled. “Is that a new birdbath?” he asked.

“Yes,” she said and slowly nodded her head. “I bought it this summer.”

“I like it,” Isaac said. “It was a good find.”

“Thank you,” she said, and smiled. The wrinkles around her eyes and mouth seemed to smile too.

Isaac smiled back. “See you later,” he said.

“See you,” she said.

Isaac went inside and finished the dishes. Then he went to find Charlie so he could check his homework. Charlie was waiting in his room, reading. He was already reading the second chapter of a new book.

Isaac looked over the homework. “You only have a few things to fix,” he said. “I marked them with a pencil.”

Charlie put a bookmark in his book and looked over his work. “What did I do wrong?” he asked.

“See if you can figure it out,” Isaac said. “Try redoing the problems.”

Charlie figured out the mistakes. “Thanks, Dad,” he said. He picked up his book again.

“Wait,” Isaac said. “Let’s go to the store and pick up a bird feeder. We can take Mom too. I think we’re going to see a lot of birds in our yard this year.”

“Really?” Charlie asked. “Wow. Let’s go!”