The Gift (A serial, part 5)

The Gift (A serial, Part 5)

The scoot home took a long time because the Covert farm was a long way from the town where Morty lived. He deliberately kept Skye out of hyper-drive, and drove slowly to keep the little tree from tearing off. They talked as he drove. Connie told him about when he was a seed, and grew quickly into a sapling. Farmer Jim re-planted him into the field where his great, great, great, great-grandfather grew up. He survived a drought, the heat of summer, and cold winters. When it snowed, his limbs sagged to the ground.

Connie’s favorite job was to host families of birds. The cardinals and chickadees picked his boughs to build their nests. They collected material from all over the farm. Red Cardinal, and his wife Rosy made hundreds of trips to the tree. Red brought pieces thread, and tiny twigs, one by one, and Rosy wove them into place. She went to the pond to make mud to hold it all together. They picked a spot about half way up Connie’s trunk in a spot that hid the nest from view.

Connie told Morty how he loved to watch the cardinals flying back and forth to feed their babies. The babies slept between meals. They chirped loudly when their parents came with food. Once a cat came into the field near Connie. Rosy covered the nest with her body, and spread her wings to hide her chicks.

Red buzzed the cat to get its attention away from the babies. Connie dropped his boughs over the nest to give the birds more protection. They all sat very still while the cat was there. All the trees in the field watched in deadly silence as the cat stalked with his head low, and his shoulders in a hunting crouch. After what seemed like an eternity of stillness and quiet, the cat finally wandered off in another direction.

Morty arrived home after dark. He untied Connie’s branches and set him upright into a bucket of water.

“Tomorrow,” he said, “I will place you into a tree stand, and dress you for the birthday party. Now it is time for all of us to rest.”

To be continued. . . .

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