One Tiny Woman

by

It’s Spring now, but with temperatures dipping into the thirties and forties at night, it’s still cold enough to use the wood burning boiler furnace. The stove sits in the backyard, looking like a small shed. Once a day Bruce fills it with large pieces of oak and locust. The wood is stacked on a trailer pulled up close to make hefting easier. Not having to sweat splitting the lengths into smaller pieces makes them heavier to lift.

The Wren sits on the edge of the blue tarp covering the trailer. She stands her ground even as Bruce walks within two feet of her on the way to the furnace. She bobs up and down on stick legs, chirping her disdain at him. He ignores her and uncovers the day’s allotment of fuel.

Now she’s in distress, flitting from the trailer to the clothesline, to the garden fence post, all the time rattling off a litany of curses at my husband. He’s oblivious, and hard of hearing it seems.

I open the kitchen window and call out. “Can’t you hear her?”

“Hear who?” he questions, looking around for a neighbor or visitor.

“The Wren,” I exclaim, pointing at the little brown bird, having a conniption in the Lilac bush now.

“Where?” Bruce asks.

“Right behind you. She’s been trying to get your attention since you left the house and started that way.”

“I didn’t see her,” he says.

“Well, look around. I’ll bet she has her nest somewhere close.”

Bruce turns around to the bird and says, “Alright, alright, stop fussing. Give me a minute. I’ll see what your problem is.”

He closes the door of the stove having not put one stick in it. He walks over to the far corner of the garden and stands watching until the Wren flits back to the woodpile and ducks under the blue tarp.

I pull the window down and watch Bruce as he leaves the backyard only to return a few minutes later with a wheelbarrow full of wood. He makes a wide berth around the trailer and parks the wood by the stove. He makes three trips to fill it.

I walk out the door to feed the chickens, and Bruce turns to me shaking his head.

“That whole trailer full of wood,” he says, “and I can’t use a stick of it. Women, they sure do make life difficult.”

I can’t help but giggle.

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