My right shoulder felt warm from the sun beaming through the half cracked window. I remember thinking that my arm was cooking in my "Easy-bake" oven, and was amused by this when we stopped, suddenly just as we pulled out of the driveway of our house on Paco drive.
I think it was my big brother who noticed the wounded woodpecker. We were now outside of the car looking at the little hurt bird. My brother said some things to my parents. I can't remember what they were talking about, but I knew it was about that hurt bird.
My brother asked me for my fisher price barn. It was in the front seat on the floor and I was happy to get it.
I looked up to James. He had gentle green eyes, like our mother. He had so many animals in the Paco house. I wonder what happened to them, looking back in retrospect.
I leaned in and opened my barn. I don't remember why I knew what he was going to use it for, but I emptied out the farm figures, little plastic fences, those rounded wooden people figures with mini plastic golf ball heads, onto the floor of the front seat. I gave it to James and he carefully lifted the bird and placed him in the top loft of the red toy barn. I loved him so much at that moment and felt so much warmth that day.
Driving down the highway with my arm ready for a bun and sauce, I placed the barn on the floor. I held the barn in my lap for what seemed a very long time. It was dark, impossible to keep my eyes open, so I bunched up some pink puffy thing, maybe my down jacket and let the sound of the engine lull me to sleep.
When I woke it was morning. Everyone was talking, i think it was about breakfast. We pulled into a drive-thru and got a bunch of food in paper bags, steaming with something that smelled like food. My brother asked me to pass him the barn with the bird and I did carefully.
The next memory was when my brother, mother and I were helping "Woodstock" (named after Snoopy's yellow, upside-down, flying friend), build her nest. We stood on the second floor back balcony of our new condo in Santa Cruz. Woodstock would fly to the wood rail of the balcony and delicately pick up a twig that I, my brother or mom would set there.
Woodstock would fly back and forth, collecting the twigs. It was magical and it felt good to assist in making her nest. I just remember how cool it felt that this tiny little woodpecker trusted us that much. We did this using one twig at a time and over a period of hours or days (I'm not quite sure), Woodstock had her nest in the tree just across the road from the back of our condo.
I spent many hours on that balcony during that time. Sometimes there would be the whole family out there, sometimes myself, at times my big brother, or my other brother who was 5 or 6 years younger than James. It was a small balcony. Not even big enough for a table, maybe one chair, but we all managed to fit out there, together at some point, feeding Woodstock worms or something that woodpeckers eat.
Not long after that (my mom or brother, dad, not sure) handed me some heavy, black binoculars and I could see the nest! There were little baby birds squawking and Woodstock was putting food in the mouths with her beak.
I'd go out onto the balcony early mornings, as the sun would rise and listen to the "tap tap... tap tap tap" of her knocking her beak into a tree. I believed it was her and that was good enough for me. I was 5 and it did not take much to make me all fuzzy inside.
I guess the name "Woodstock" works for both female and male birds. It would also make a great name for a rock concert.
~LGN 9-29-2012 (now to edit and re-edit and edit and re-edit and edit and re-edit, until done, or sompin' like that)