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May 15, 2004
What are those orange discs out in the back? Q wants to know.

Orange discs? I drew a bank at first, Oh, those are orange halves. They're for the Baltimore Orioles.

I didn't know we had Baltmore Orioles?

We don't.

I feed birds that aren't there. I've been doing it for so long that I am no longer even embarrassed by this. The orange halves -- one impaled on top of the cedar clematis trellis and the other skewered onto the old clothesline pole -- join the half-dozen hummingbird feeders in a garden of bird delicacies the likes of which are seldom seen all in one place. Because I also feed birds that are there. Blocks of suet, studded with nuts and seeds, for the woodpeckers. Black thistle for the finches. Sunflower hearts for the cardinals and doves and chicadees and everybody else. Water for everyone.

We have lots of woodpeckers. Many cardinals and doves. Loads of finches. An ample supply of chicadees. No hummingbirds and no Baltimore Orioles. Not yet, anyway. But we set out this banquet anyway, something for everybody, even before anybody comes.

Who is to say when your heart's desire will come? Who is to say it ever will? But you want to be ready for it when it does, prepared for it, ready to welcome and enjoy it. And the best way to become ready for the enjoyment of something yet to be is to enjoy what already is. You learn joy by taking joy.

I'll look foolish. I'll look pathetic. People will know I hoped for something and didn't get it.

Well, maybe. Given a choice, though, I prefer to hope for happiness and plan for it. Get ready for it. If disappointment comes anyway, I have lost nothing I didn't already lack. And I have had the joy of hope itself, no small thing.
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