Should ugly birds be fed? I’ve been asking myself that question as I grumpily watch the descent of the feathered mobs on the birdseed in the back yard. The grackles come in hordes like Visigoths, strong in number, and, worse, ugly! The finch feeder heaves and pitches under the weight of their assault, and their iridescent black feathers glow like an oil slick under the maple. My birdseed is for cute birds, pretty birds, not for ugly birds!
I’ve been thinking about my thinking. Where do I get this notion that birdseed is just for the cute, pretty birds? What are the corollaries of that?
Am I overthinking? Perhaps.
But more likely it is another memory pushing its way up.
There was a time in my married life when I lost weight because there wasn’t enough to eat. I didn’t know how I was going to feed my sons the next week. Make no mistake: I do not compare myself to those who starve in famine and drought and devastating poverty. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t affected.
Scarlett O’Hara yanked a wild onion out of the ground and ate it, dirt and all, then shook her fist at the sky with the vow AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, I’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN. It was a deeply human moment. I made a different vow: I would never trust anyone again — not on the level at which people trust each other in marriage. I didn’t know until years later that I’d made that vow, but now I know.
What god of irony appointed me the arbiter of worthiness for food? Bon appetit, grackles!