Journey to Ukazoo
Slide 17: Eight Birds
After several stops in large metropolitan areas, I could sense the anticipation of a few days of peace and quiet as I checked into a Bed & Breakfast in Yreka, California. The innkeeper, after going through the normal b&b cadence, offered one final note, you might want to reframe from feeding the birds. “Nothing major, but one particular bird, we named Cliff, seems to be rather persistent in wanting more”.
The following morning after breakfast, armed with a good mystery book, cup of tea, and my last few favorite store bought cookies, I made my way to the front porch. Couldn’t have been 10 minutes into my reading when a very unique bird, whom I had to assume was Cliff, landed on the railing. He took to staring at me and my cookies. I remembered the innkeepers warning, but it was just one bird. I gave in and held out my last cookie. With one quick motion he took it from my hand and flew off. I smiled, seemed like no harm done.
Later that evening after dinner and a trip to a store to replenish my cookie supply, I returned to the porch to finish off a couple more chapters. Couldn’t have been five minutes when Cliff returned to the railing. Only this time he was back with a friend, and with that same intent stare to me and my cookies, I gave in. Well, with a little less of a smile, it was just the two of them.
The next day, I again went to the porch and I took the cookies just in case Cliff and his friend returned. They did, but he also brought two additional friends. With a weaker smile, I offered each a cookie. That included the two I had put aside for myself. Oh well, it was only four of them.
That evening, with a slight chill in the air, I retired to my room with the book and a very comfortable soft chair next to a window. Within five minutes I heard a soft tapping on the glass, and slightly startled, there outside the window was Cliff, and with two more friends, now bringing the total to six, and all with those same intent stares.
My smile stretched thin, and the innkeepers warning now echoing in my head, still, I gave in. Opening the window, the same scenario played out, take the cookies and fly.
Returning to the book, I stayed up very late wanting to finish it since I would be leaving tomorrow. As the morning light filtered into the room and I worked reluctantly to open my eyes, I detected a rustling sound at the foot of the bed. I slowly lifted my head and peeked over the sheets, and remembering I forgot to close the window, I now found eight birds sitting, patiently waiting for me to wake up and offer them a cookie.
I reached over to the nightstand where I had left my camera and peering back over the edge of the sheets I took this picture.
Now making myself decent, I walked to the dresser, got what happened to be my last eight cookies and explained that this was it, no more, besides, I would be leaving today. Just as before and without any hint of understanding, they took the cookies and flew off.
A few hours later as I was bringing my bags out for departure, I noticed sitting on my windshield a coupon for my favorite brand of cookies. I looked around and across the road, I saw Cliff sitting on a fence post. With coupon in hand and the sheer silliness of this cookie episode playing in my head, my smile returned. I tipped my hat to Cliff, as a thank you and goodbye, and he gave a slight nod in return, spread his wings, and flew away. Onward to Ukazoo.
All images and text are copyright Craig L Haupt
Postings of “Journey to Ukazoo” Slides are every Monday Evening.