An English In Kentucky


















Wednesday May 30th 2012    Tim Candler

    I wanted to wait until Saint Swithun's Day to talk about Wrens, but that's not until the middle of July, and by then the odds are that heat, hose pipes and Bean Beetle will so dominate the day to day that Wrens will fall into the category of 'minor irritation.'  They have a nest, in a large ornamental plastic pot on the front Porch, and there is that busy-ness that leaves feathers disheveled, tempers frayed, and the whole panoply that goes along with the wretched work of passing seed to the next generation.  So I like to pretend I am invisible in the morning and usually Wrens do to. 

  And it's quite pleasant to feel relaxed and calm, and bare foot, as they go about their maniac chores, while I wait for the mist to clear.  I have concluded that amongst Wren, early morning feeding is critical to the wellness of their children, and a good meal when Lightning Bug rise is clearly recommended, because in the very last of the day light, that time of day when I am blind without the electric, there they still are, buzzing around and still dealing grubs to their still weeping offspring.  

      The big day for Wrens is of course Saint Stephen's Day, which falls toward the end of December. Those Europeans who still celebrate, no longer do so by killing a Wren and then marching around town with the little creature's corpse on top of a pole. A quite unnecessary thing to do, in my view, that has often caused me to wonder about the origins and quality of my own seed, which contains Celt, and maybe Viking and a little Saxon, and all of us probably enjoyed a good Wren Hunt around Christmas.

     Saint Stephen, himself, was stoned to death in the Roman Province of Judea, by an angry mob, because of some blasphemy against Moses. But that was in the middle of the first century, when I guess people were even more prone to hysterical outburst and displays of intolerance. Yet sometimes, when prodded, a person can find himself inclined to remember that Saint Stephen was betrayed by a Wren.  This is especially the case when it's early, and there is one of those hot coffee spills that follows an involuntary spasm that can result when a person is suddenly yelled at, and for no good reason, by a creature with what looked like a spider in his sharp beak.

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