Monday, June 28, 2010


It has been a little over a week since we found LITTLE ONE early Sunday morning, on Father's day, and I am amazed at how quickly he has grown.

We returned yesterday from a weekend in Saratoga Springs, New York and, to our amazement, discovered a second bird in our makeshift nest.  This bird is larger and does not appear to be a blackbird. 

Where did he come from?

They became startled when we checked on them and both flew out of the pot.  Clearly they are not ready to be on their own, both are hopping around the pavement as though it is a well protected bird sanctuary.  

Thinking we caused not one, but two, birds' demise - we are devastated.

Instead of retreating from the high temperature and humidity, we spend the next few hours trying to coax them back into the nest.  After many failed attempts they are successfully captured only to quickly fly back out.  

Eventually, the larger bird hops onto my extended finger and I am able to carry him over to a second pot and he jumps in.  I am out of ladders so I put his pot on the large orange barrel near the original pot.  

LITTLE ONE is much harder to capture. The first time I catch him he looks me right in the eyes and screams so loud I cry.  He is scared but tries his best to act fierce.

We eventually corner him below a rock, scoop him up, put him back in his pot and cover the pot with a clear lid until he calms down.  

A few hours later, the larger bird aka "Squatter" flies from his lower level pot back into LITTLE ONE's pot.

In my opinion the nest is not large enough for two and I'm concerned LITTLE ONE is uncomfortable.

LITTLE ONE's parents begin feeding them almost immediately but it appears as though Squatter is taking more than his fair share.  

Half way into my second martini, I catch my neighbor climbing the ladder and yell to Mark to intervene.  Mark, who is non-confrontational, reads her the riot act and she agrees to stay away from the nest.  She tells him she noticed Squatter in the pot Saturday afternoon and thought it was LITTLE ONEs mother. 

The next day, with two dogs and cat in tow, I go out for a walk early this morning.  LITTLE ONE and Squatter are in their pot and both are being fed.  

On my return I discover a small barn swallow that has also left his nest prematurely.  I'm almost certain he will make it.  He has all his feathers and is capable of flying, if only for a short distance.  

We have lived in our home for over 7 years and never have I seen such bird drama.  Am I more aware or are the birds more confused?  

An hour or so later, I notice the nest is not being fed and when I check, it is empty. 

I don't know what happened.  I don't know if someone climbed the ladder and frightened them or if they jumped out on their own. 
For now, I'm contemplating what to do.  Both birds are hanging out under a car that is parked next to their nest.

Squatter is resilient enough to adopt a nest, so I'm not too worried about him, but LITTLE ONE cannot fly well enough to get back into his nest.

Do I try to corral LITTLE ONE again and put him back in his pot?  The carport is full of corporate employees cars, and without Marks assistance, I doubt I will be able to capture him.  Even if I am successful how will I convince him he should stay inside his nest?  

I place a small plastic container of water on the ground, incarcerate the cat indoors and text Mark.

Without sounding completely irrational, the thought of LITTLE ONE stranded and helpless makes me physically ill.  How do you care for something so fragile and not getting emotionally involved. Perhaps we should not have interfered with nature but I don't know how to look the other way.  

Mark suggests I try to get him back in the nest.

I wipe my tears and head back outdoors.  I search everywhere.  LITTLE ONE IS GONE.  

empty nest

for more about LITTLE ONE, day one:


Tuesday, June 29th - LITTLE ONE is living in a holly bush, just outside my dining room window.  We first spotted him here last night while we were taking the dogs for a walk.  This morning, hidden behind a curtain, I watched him being fed.  Tears of relief and joy and hope streamed down my face. 

I should have realized that his parents would not give up on him, that they'd recognize his cry and continue to feed him.  I have left the makeshift nest, the orange pot, on the ladder where its been for a little more than a week.  Someone else may need it.  

Squatter was spotted yesterday afternoon in a lilac bush, just outside my front door.  He is also being fed by a blackbird, even though I'm not convinced he is a blackbird.  If he is, he is much larger then LITTLE ONE.  

Life is good outside of the nest.  

The cat remains contained inside the house.  Pissed off Kittay is not a pretty sight!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


"LITTLE ONE"  day one after falling from his nest. 
June 20, 2010 - fathers day

LITTLE ONE - June 23, 2010

We clean his flower pot daily and his parents feed him from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm (with a short break during the high afternoon sun)

LITTLE ONE lives inside an orange flower pot on top of a 6 ft ladder.  His devoted parents watch over him and feed him continuously.

For more information on LITTLE ONE:

(I'm concerned my calling him "little one" will prompt alllllll sorts of penis enlargement spam)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blackbird Fly

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise...    Paul McCartney

My day begins with a back-handed SLAP to my husbands chest.  Since his return from 7 days of play, with 8 extra pounds, he's snoring...again.

It's Father's Day.  My plans include taking my 87 year old father, in his wheelchair, on a ferry ride to Island Beach - a town owned park located 2 miles off shore.  As much as he enjoys the ride, it's the food that is first on his mind - his favorite, grilled hotdog(s) severed at the concession stand with raw onion and mustard on a toasted bun.  But first, I'll need coffee and plenty of it.

How do you forget you're out of coffee?

My husband agrees to take the dog and cat for their morning walk while I head out to the local grocery store with the promise of mild, breakfast blend, whole bean coffee and the Sunday paper.

Twenty paces out we discover a baby bird, lying on the cool morning pavement under the neighboring office buildings carport. Half suited in feathers, with a crown of tuft on his head, he is shivering and chirping.  His eyes and beak are open....wide.

Finding fallen, baby birds is sadly familiar during the early days of summer and I don't know who to blame.  Why can't they stay safe inside their nest until they are ready to fly?  It's about a 12 foot drop, not an easy first flight.

I buried three so far this season.  We placed one back in his nest only to find him back on the pavement two days later...dead.  Did he leap? Was he pushed?

Barn swallows are prevalent here and we have more than our share.  They annoy most of our neighbors but I am impressed with their fierceness and loyalty to their young.

Our kitty, Miss Phoebe, is deathly afraid of them.  They'll swoop and dive-bomb her from every direction until she runs for cover.  It's funny to see an oversized cat afraid of such a tiny bird.

This little guy has a lot of fight left in him but how will he survive on his own?  If we leave him on the ground someone is certain to run over him, or worse, Miss Phoebe will find him.

We check for open nests but all six are occupied and none of the chicks match our little grey one.

After much discussion, we build a makeshift nest on the ground and, with latex gloved hands, gently place "little one" in the center of his new home.  We then put two, orange ceramic flower pots - one on each side - to prevent people from stepping or driving over him.

His chirp and open mouth cry for food is heartbreaking so I head into the garden to dig up some worms, smash them up with a rock, add some room temperature, bottled water and prepare a breakfast paste.  He is eager to feed but unimpressed with my culinary efforts and refused to eat. Regurgitate is out of the question - his only chance of survival is if his parents find and feed him.

Mark climbs up and down the ladder, closely inspecting each of the occupied nest and is convinced that an unsuspecting baby swallow won't mind some company.  It doesn't matter that little one is double his size and a completely different species of bird.

This sounds unreasonable to me - I'm certain we'll need a plan B.

I look up at the ladder, down at the bird and over to the clay pot  - it was a classic "peanut-butter in my chocolate" moment.... Put the baby in the nest, put the nest in the pot and put the pot on the top step of the ladder.

He's safer off the ground but will his parents spot him and if so, will they be willing to care for him?

With little one in his pot, I continued onto the store while Mark and our dog head out for their morning walk and the cat, clearly annoyed, is displaced inside.

I check on our fair feathered friend several times throughout the morning, seriously contemplating if I should bring him inside.  There is no sign of his parents and he is shivering... still.

Am I helping, or am I prolonging his suffering?

After I see someone questioning the planter, I make a sign that reads "CAUTION - BABY BIRD INSIDE ORANGE PLANTER - DO NOT MOVE - THANK YOU" and attached it to the ladder. (I have no idea why I found it necessary to include the color)

Later, when the superintendent reads the sign, he corrals the ladder with 2 orange cones and 2 large barrels.

By midday, I leave to take my frail father to the island, fully expecting another bird burial when I return.

It proved to be an extra challenging day.  It's not easy pushing a 175 pound man in a wheelchair, across sand, gravel, grass, and up and down ramps.  And I was shocked at the lack of assistance people were willing to give.

Feeding my father is also challenging and I have to be careful he doesn't choke.  He often coughs as he eats - a sad reminder that his Parkinson's will eventually take away his ability to swallow.

In between my fussing, I watch young parents push their children in strollers, tugging toys and overflowing diaper bags and wonder where the time went.

I am completely exhausted when I arrive home late for happy hour.

I sit inside my car, take a deep breath and wonder if I have the strength to check inside the pot.

From my rear view mirror I can see swallows chasing a single black bird. Shortly after, a second black bird arrives, this one carrying food.

I watch in amazement as he perches on top of the flower pot and feeds his little one.  Systematically, the two black birds care for their chick - one protecting while the other feeds.

Our plan has worked.  A life is saved, if only for another day.

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly...

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

(shot sideways but you get the idea :)

for reading, commenting and loving birds

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Captain - Part 1

The celebration of my birth shares the season of my son's passing.  To sooth and comfort me, my Captain plans an escape to Newport, Rhode Island.  

It has been 8 years since my child took his broken winged flight without me.  My wound, now a scar, bleeds still.

The party is in full swing late Friday night when we arrive at our well appointed room rigged above an aromatic coffee and pastry shop, punctuated at the furthest tip of a weathered wharf.

Anchored on a private deck, with our dogs at our feet, we sip chardonnay and applaud the beacon of stars that decorate our horizon.

It is sweet and steamy and oh so salty, here at our berth.

Cabin cruisers and majestic schooners, with their lofty masts and tightly rolled sails, bounce off pillowed posts.

Late into the night, he cradles me.

The following day, when tears accompany a dawn's heavy fog, my loyal companions lead me on thick morning walk.

Eager eyes and joyful tails are a welcome distraction and a deliberate decoy.  I hide behind my dogs, my husbands hand, and thick, dark shades.

We make it back just as the sky cracks.

I cannot predict when it rains.

The precipitation passes but my sadness lingers.  Without words, he knows.  Gently, he consoles - whispering promises of a clear, pink sky.

The sun returns in time for lunch.  Laughter whisked in pleasant trade winds join the clamor of ravenous gulls.   Clusters of restless tourists bounce along cobbled streets.  Merchants with their open doors entice a taste, a touch.

The echo of my hunger sways me and I breath in - deeply.

I let go of my pain, devour chowder, lobster and imported champagne.  Parade through shops - try on this and twirl in that.

It's time to play. 

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

for reading and commenting

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Dance

I am a devoted romantic - a sensitive being with a sensual appetite.

It's a lifestyle choice I made a very long time ago - to follow the creative command of my inspirations, to focus on pleasures of the heart, and to celebrate my tenderness towards intimacy, affinity, compassion and love.

I experience intense, sumptuous, stimulation from music, movement, color, fabric, flowers, flavor and my favorite...words. 

... Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove: 
O no!  it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken    

The blissful dance of Romance plays a intricate part in the rhythmic scheme of love.

Finding it takes patience.  Holding onto it takes fortitude.  Finishing with it takes conviction.

Do you peruse or pursue the idea of romance?   What sacrifices and struggles have you endured in the name of love?  Is romance an egocentric extravagance or a necessity? 

Whats fluff and whats core stuff?

To me, gifts that sparkle and phone order flower deliveries - are so NOT necessary.  And, generally speaking, I find forced holiday, anniversary or birthday gifts to be irritating and ultimately disappointing.

Cards are someone else's words - not yours.  If you hand me one, I will ignore the print  and read only your hand written message.

I'd rather you surprise me by coming home early - for no other reason than to sit beside me.

What tells you you are loved?

For me, romantic atonement require...
Words of adoration,
wrapped in gentle gestures
and behavior I can count on.  

Words leave a lasting impression, 
while gestures and behaviors speak a truth unto their own. 

It was his demeanor that forced the first glance
His silent stroll, his gallant stance 
The inevitability of a lasting dance
Because he struggles with his words, and I realize I can not ask him to give more than he is capable of, I focus on his character...  

He amorously pursues her, never rests in a pledge.  

When they are together, she is the only woman he sees.  

He is comfortable when she leaps but knows when its time to take the lead.  

He celebrates her.  

She walks in front or beside him, never behind.  

He opens her door, pulls out her chair, stands when she walks in a room. 

The amusement that circles them is validated, but he is first and foremost entertained by her.  

 mixed media collages by Jennifer Gordon 

to view her work visit:
Jennifer specializes in paintings, ACEOS, journals, art boxes, and more.  
She is available for commission.  

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

 for reading, commenting, 
and wondering where I'd gone

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

First Taste of Summer

Some people crave chocolate.  I crave romance.  For me, its sweeter than sugar, more decadent than fine, french champagne and more satisfying than sex. 

I will never give up on, or outgrow my thirst for romance.  Nurturing, creatively invigorating, self indulgent - it fuels my intimacy, fluffs my daydreams and ignites slumbered fantasies.

It's time I record my compilation of quixotic sparks - if for no other reason then the pure joy of reliving them.

It was an unusually sticky summer.  The carefree kind that clings to you way past Labor Day.  It started innocently and ended with an unbridled ache.

His name was Peter.  He had wild auburn hair, freckles splashed across his nose, and an audible and visible gap between his front teeth.

We met on a small island not far from shore that included a boat house, platformed tents, an arts and craft building and an archery field.

He called me "Kid."  He was 2 years older and according to his calculations, 4 years wiser.

He taught me how to sail, how to skip rocks across a low tide and how to slip out of a tent in total darkness.

I in turn taught him how to dance, the rules to Truth or Dare, and the lyrics to James Taylor hits.

Because he was a CIT (councilor in training) we were allowed to roam, unsupervised, for hours.

His enveloping, interlocking fingers tickled my palm as he guided me along a broad stretch of beach and into a lush, wooded pathway that ran behind the boathouse, past the bonfire pit, to the desolate side of the island.

In anticipation of our first solo sail together, he reviewed the responsibilities of being his first mate while I mentally connecting the freckles on his forearms.

Because I didn't know what it was, I never saw it coming.

Veiled in the inherent beauty of a bellowing beech tree - the same tree he engraved our initials in -  he pulled a sun dried strip of braided rope from his back pocket, wrapped it twice around my arm, looped it through... and tugged.

"A double half hitch" he called it - a sailors trustworthy knot.  This is how we'd secure our vessel when the sunset commanded us to dock.

I waited until he noticed I wasn't watching and then I kissed him.

It was my first taste of sweet love. 

It was a quick peck - a bold move on my part.

His mouth dropped open and I laughed.

He let go of his knot and with both arms lifted me so that our eyes were perfectly in line.

"I love you" he said, so softly I didn't recognize his voice, "I will always love you." And then, with an ardent calling, he kissed me.  

As the days drifted into weeks, he filled my head with promises he couldn't keep. He told me - with the stylistic reverence of James Taylor teachings - I'd always be his best friend, I'd be first on his mind and that he'd be there whenever I called.

The change of seasons sent me home again, to my mothers keeping - back to wispy fields, mountain peaks and rolling valleys - while he guarded our glistening shore.

I would visit my father often during our first year apart and he was respectful of the bond first love brings.

The following summer, we rekindled our blaze with an ethereal, starry skied force.

We played until a cold, cruel wind carried me home again.

We played until his secret washed ashore. A spry, not so well behaved, winter, spring and fall friend bleed into my path.

I held onto my pain longer than a young girl should.  The salty, sting of summer seasoned my well groomed, wound.

Despite his deceit, or maybe because of it, we have remained close friends.

And to prove that the world circles in mystifying ways, my daughters first and still boyfriend is Peters first cousins son (pause to digest). 

Peter, or "Sergeant Pepper" as his insignia states, (name changed to protect his privacy) is now a police officer in a neighboring town.

I fantasize about him running my security company, with minimal pay, when he retires in less than 5 years time.

Poetic justice for a hearts first tear.

 fine art, photography, notebooks, collages, and illustrations by afiori

Art by Afiori

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

for reading and commenting



Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison