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  • Writer's pictureCherie Claire

Do, Do, Do, Looking Out My Back Door

I thought I was in hog’s heaven, as my mother used to say, when I bought my South Louisiana house and turned the dining room into my office, complete with window overlooking the front garden. It was a small window but I hung a bird feeder outside and could watch the daily songbirds arriving at the Claire buffet. Chickadees, tufted titmouse, goldfinches in winter and an occasion woodpecker would fly by, but my favorites were the cardinals who brought forth little cardinals every summer. I’d watch them feed their babies, then follow those teenagers from awkward ruffled feathers into crimson adulthood.

Cardinal feeding her young

When I moved to Marietta, Georgia, I was despondent about leaving my feathered friends behind. A Georgia native gave me a look and replied, “There are birds in Georgia, Cherie!”

She was right. I know, pretty obvious, but it does take a while for birds to find your feeders and I expected a lull in the activity with some sadness on my part. I lived on the Mississippi Flyway, an interstate for migratory birds heading north and south every year, so those colorful visitors were common in spring and fall.

I hung my feeders on my new balcony and birds discovered my Georgia buffet instantly. I never skipped a beat, was quickly back watching the bird show.

And it’s so much better. I do miss my little guys back home, but I live in a condo with a sunroom that overlooks a balcony on one end and a vast field, woods and creek on the other two sides, walls completely made of windows. I’m almost surrounded by light and nature, so when I pen my novels I not only watch the birds at my feeder — including new species! — white tail deer romp through almost daily, owls hoot at night and geese squawk as they head to the park’s pond next door.

I’m amazed at the beauty before me every time I sit down at my computer to write. And I’m not alone. My cats find puddles of sunlight and join me or lounge across my storage ottoman at my back. The sun catchers, glass balls and crystals send colors and prisms around my wall as the sun cascades across the sky. Around 5 p.m., a great blue heron flies past; I’m assuming he’s returning home after a meal at the creek in the woods.

I wrote my first novel on a tiny desk in a tiny bedroom in a tiny apartment when my kids were little. Mostly, I wrote after they went to bed. When we bought our first house, I moved my desk into the guest bedroom, another tiny room but with privacy! That dining room was a dream come true (although no door), filled with books and memorabilia.

But now…

If you’re reading this, drop me a line and tell me about your favorite place, whether to write or make art or just sit quietly and read a book.

Two lucky cats

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