Red-Breasted Sentinel

>> April 17, 2012

* see below


Dot spit toothpaste in the sink and wiped her mouth.


She glanced at her reflection in the mirror and rolled her eyes.


“Alright already. Can’t you see I’m working on it?” Dot’s tough skinned feet shuffled along on the worn linoleum floor.


Bent down under the kitchen sink, she retrieved an old ice cream bucket with a grunt. “I’m gonna get a BB gun if you don’t knock it off.”  She glared at the mud splattered kitchen window. An idle threat at best.

Even though she knew it was coming, the jumped when the crazy robin came at the window with another thump. He had been at it all morning but more consistently after she got up and around. This time he grabbed onto the window screen with his claws and stared at her. Dot squinted in return.

“Pest,” she turned to head towards the door. The robin fluttered around to the porch banister and cocked his head. “Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you… Pest.”

The air came alive with the news that the plump old woman had emerged from behind the window with the sought after bucket of seed. Branches bounced above the birdfeeder from the movement of critters flitting among the fir trees while she ambled barefoot across the dew laden lawn.

She filled the feeder and tossed a handful of seed under the trees. A fat squirrel scampered down the trunk unafraid of the human less than six feet away. The furry critter swiped up a couple sunflower seeds and scurried back up to enjoy his treat.

Back inside, Dot leaned on the kitchen sink with her morning coffee in hand and watched the activity in her back yard. Birds of various types swooped in to have a turn at some early spring food. Meanwhile, the robin who pesters her every time the feeder is empty, sat perched on the rail keeping an eye on the feeding frenzy occasionally tilting his head to watch her through the glass.

When things settled down, the robin flew off into the trees.

“Well, everyone seems happy now.” Dot backed away from the sink, sipping her coffee. In all her years, she never ceased to be amazed at the self appointed, red-breasted, sentinel.


* This picture was taken through my kitchen window. Not the best quality so it posed a bit of a challenge to edit. The red-breasted fella flies into my kitchen window, sliding glass door, and dining room window every time the bird feeder gets low.  I never see him enjoying the seed. He did this last spring, too. I fictionalized the story using my beloved Dot character from previous short stories over the years.

4 comments so far...Care to leave your thoughts?:

Catrina Bradley 4/17/2012  

I still have a huge grin on my face! Dot's grumpy old lady act doesn't fool the creatures of nature.They know her heart. I absolutely love this story!

Mari LaVell 4/17/2012  

Thanks, Cat. Dot is a well "rounded" mix of my mom, grandmother, and great-aunts on my mom's side. So I suppose she is me in 30 years. sigh.

Laury Holman Hubrich 4/18/2012  

I love your Dot character:) You've given us more depth to her character, for sure.

Joanne Sher 4/19/2012  

Great character - and a beautiful picture. Thanks, my friend.

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