Surprise Visitors

11454297503_e27946e4ff_hAfter seeing my sister off, I pulled up our driveway at 11 am, weary to the bone, anticipating throwing myself onto the bed and into oblivion. It had been an amazing, rich, full weekend, but I was now officially and utterly exhausted. As I crested the top of the hill, my foot slipped off the gas.

Oh, no! Whose car is that? 

I tamped down on a slight sense of panic. Noooooo! I was just sooo tired. The idea of entertaining anyone was simply inconceivable. I was peopled out. I parked the car and sat for a moment, gathering myself.  Finally, I took a deep breath and headed inside.

There in the family room was my husband, Kurt, and his friend….and his friend’s wife. I’d only met her once before, and I realized instantly that I was not going to be able to say a quick hello, make excuses and go take a nap. Instead, I summoned up a smile and offered tea.

Later, as we sat and talked and drank tea, my fatigue retreated slightly. The four of us chatted comfortably about this and that. Gradually, I found that I was actually enjoying myself.

Suddenly, Kurt’s friend blurted out, “Hey! You’ve got bluebirds!”

“What? Where?” I asked, my head jerking.

“Look!”  he pointed. “They’re right out there.”

I peered out the back window to see flashes of blue amidst the thicket of rose bushes. We all crowded the windows.

“Wow! There are a bunch of them!” Kurt said.

We looked out, trying to count as they flitted about. There were at least three or four, maybe five. Bluebirds…harbingers of happiness and hope! I snatched up my camera and hurried outside.

As I approached the corner of the house, I slowed down, leery of spooking the birds, hoping they still lingered. I had rushed out without a coat, and although the air was cold, the sun warmed my skin. I suddenly realized it was quite a beautiful day.

Rounding the corner, I looked out across the backyard into the trees and was surprised by the variety of movement. Birds were everywhere! There were multiple woodpeckers, tufted titmice, goldfinches, and chickadees climbing tree trunks or flitting through the branches. And then…there! There was a bluebird. The others were no longer in sight, but this one flew out to the field and swooped in and out of low-lying brambles. I stood in the winter sun, content to watch, each flash of brilliant blue sparking a smile on my face.


After a few minutes, the bluebird flew to a nearby tree and then, as I held my breath, it came even closer. It lingered for a short time, moving from perch to perch, then suddenly flew into the backyard and out of sight. Although I waited for a few more minutes, it didn’t return.

Warmed by winter sun and flashing blue wings, I slowly headed back inside to our guests. I was still tired, but more comfortably so now, for offsetting the weight of fatigue was a deep and quiet gratitude for the joy of surprise visitors.



23 thoughts on “Surprise Visitors

  1. Nicely tied together last sentence! A master at work. Oh by the way, try as we might, we don’t get many birds at our feeders in York, Maine. Any suggestions from you and your readers?

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Dan! This was one of those pieces that took a bit to come together and it still feels like the pacing is off at the end. Ah, well.
      The biggest change we got in visiting bird volume was when we switched to black oil sunflower seeds. It was a dramatic, overnight change! (I blogged about it here: and now, rereading that post years later, I realize that poem needs some tweaking! Perfect job for a snow day!) We’ve varied things a bit and I also now have suet, peanuts (on special occasions) and often a fruit/nut blend. The sunflower seeds are the staple though. Good luck!


  2. Surprise visitors that turn out to be pleasant company — when you’re tired — is a true gift!

    Hope you get that snow day tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your slice is so well written and constructed, and the surprise visitors were not only your husband’s friend and wife but also that quantity of birds, especially the bluebirds. You are lucky to get that lovely photo of bird against snow.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, what a wonderful piece of writing and photography! I love the digitized photo so I am hoping you will offer this with a link to your blog post for my winter gallery. When I try to capture a scene with winter animals, I don’t seem to be quick enough to get a sharp photo but you were right there with your camera.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mukhamani says:

    The blue bird is so beautiful. I wake up every morning to hear the twittering of birds, I love it. It is the same in the evening when we hear them chattering and talking to each other. Birds are a joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie Lynn says:

    Blue birds are beautiful and fun to watch! I bet you slept well that night! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Trina Haase says:

    I love that this unexpected surprise turned out to be a gift. The photo of the bluebird is gorgeous!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. margaretsmn says:

    Love this line, “for offsetting the weight of fatigue was a deep and quiet gratitude for the joy of surprise visitors.” I felt your fatigue from the beginning, along with the joy of seeing the bluebirds. I need to get some black sunflower seeds. I have a bluebird house, but never have had them come. I’m afraid our two big raccoons and our cat must scare them off.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      The black oil sunflower seeds made a huge difference for us. I really want to try a bluebird house someday, but I’d be devastated if our cats killed a fledgling, so I haven’t risked it. Happily, someone put some up at school last year and I’m hoping they do the same this year. Those bluebirds are simply stunning!


  9. That last paragraph, though….:)
    We have chickadees, blue jays, sparrows, juncos, nuthatches, with the occactional ruby-breasted grosbeak, but a flock of bluebirds? That’s a pretty awesome sight to behold! Thanks for sharing with us! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have always wanted to see a bluebird. Just think without those visitors you would have missed it. Serendipity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      In a crazy coincidence, those same human visitors returned yesterday and lo and behold, the bluebirds were back! There were three of them this time and they flitted about on the roof, drinking water from the melting snow. So pretty!


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