Saturday, April 09, 2011

Patricia Sprinkle: Birds

I love watching birds. I have four feeders outside my office window, and as I started writing this, three bright goldfinches landed on the thistle seeds. Two dainty eaters each took a seed and departed. One little pig stayed so long he claimed squatter’s rights, and refused to let the other two return. Do you know people like that? I do.

Whenever I start to complain about the cost of birdseed, I remind myself that these pets never cost me a vet bill and are cheaper than a psychiatrist.

Birds play an important role in my latest novel, Friday’s Daughter. The bluebird on the cover, hovering but not quite perching on a birdbath, is where Teensie MacAllester is when this story begins. For fifteen years Teensie has hovered over life, caring for her aunt, her mother, and her crochety father. He promised, when he asked her to give up the nursing job she loved and come home as family caregiver, that he would leave her his house and money to open a small, gracious nursing home for impoverished elderly people.

The book opens with his death, when Teensie discovers he supported his lavish lifestyle by living off his capital, and he never changed his will. She must share a diminished estate with two grasping elder sisters. At forty, Teensie must create a new life for herself.

The story is about how one little bluebird avoids birds of prey around her and learns to soar with eagles.

I haven’t had any eagles at my feeders yet, but a gang of finches just drove off the squatter. Like Teensie, they discovered you can accomplish great things with the help of a few friends.

Patricia Sprinkle

1 comment:

Christina Hollis said...

I love birds too, Patricia. We have robins here that feed from our hands, but they're very quarrelsome and each one has to be fed in a different part of the garden!