From the Sky - Part IV

Vini - Frizzanti

Vini Frizzanti...

Weeks went by before I could return to Uncle's. Dad said that after Sal told Rae about her dream, Aunt Rae had an identical dream that very night. This shook both of my aunts so badly they decided to take turns picking me up at the bus stop for the rest of the school year. I found one of them waiting for me each day when I got off the bus. They were determined to keep me from going to Uncle's. Weekends posed no threat to their plan. Saturdays were spent with Dad. Sundays meant church, an afternoon visit by Aunt Sal, and then dinner at Aunt Rae's. If there was a nest in the honey locust, I realized I might never see it.

My chance came with a teacher in-service, which meant a half-day of school. Dad, in a long run of fourteen hour days, simply forgot about it. I chose not to remind him, and of course I never mentioned it to my aunts. I prayed they wouldn't get wind of it. School was nearly over, and the half-day was likely my one and only opportunity to see the nest and perhaps some baby beaks thrusting skyward for food. When I got off the bus at midday, no one was waiting for me. I looked up and down the block. No sign of Aunt Sal's little white Chevy or Aunt Rae's imposing black Cadillac.

I dashed straight to Uncle's.

When I entered the yard, I saw garden tools spread around, and a wheelbarrow full of topsoil parked next to the walk. I went into the kitchen, but Uncle wasn't there. I set my knapsack on a kitchen chair and went looking for him. I found him sleeping in his recliner, snoring softly. I didn't have the heart to wake him, and it wasn't necessary. I just needed his field glasses. I found them on the counter in the kitchen and slipped quietly out the back door.

I went to the backyard and raised the glasses to my eyes, fumbling a second to bring things into focus, and started looking for the nest. I couldn't find it. Perhaps there wasn't one. I lowered the glasses, dejected, and was about to go back to the kitchen when I spotted a bit of color under the tree; something small and light green lay atop the grass. I walked closer. It was an eggshell, with brown spots. The baby scarlet tanagers were somewhere above me. I stepped back and looked again at the tree, eyes only. The leaves were thick; I couldn't find the nest. I stepped all the way back to the walk and used the field glasses again, concentrating on the branches directly above where I'd found the shell. There! High up in the tree, tucked way in a fork on a horizontal branch, was a nest. It was small, flattish, and somewhat saucer shaped. It was almost completely hidden from view. If there were hatchlings there, I'd never see them from the ground. But if I climbed the tree, I might find a vantage point. I would have to climb higher than I ever had before; I would have to get at least as high as the nest.

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