Mary Christine Delea
Here are the shots: taken from inside the house, hundreds of photographs of a thousand different kinds of birds eating millions of pieces of seed that dent the snow on our deck, so many eating so much that all that tiny body heat melted the snow. The migration to and from north and south took a rest stop at our rented house in Colorado, the split-level with the coal furnace heat on top of a hill, and underneath the getting-ready-to-land path of planes carrying models and execs from the east and Hollywood folks from the west to the airport, to their limos, to the ski resort the next town over existed for. Those people did not impress us; the birds were what snuck into our dreams at night, and we read tens of books with hundreds of photographs of birds native to Colorado, and the thousands that just pass through. The easy ones to identify were Crayola-colored or very large or very small. The ones we never got to check off the SEEN list were the medium-sized birds of browns and grays. Even when we could distinguish one chirp, one squawk, or one tweet from the millions of sounds coming from our deck, we were never watching closely enough to distinguish which bird made which noise.
The other shots: taken from outside on the deck, looking inside, where the three indoor cats sat alert at the sliding glass door, watching the sky, and waiting for me to forget—a million in one chance—to close the door the next time I dragged a bag of bird seed outside.