There’s a tree out the back of the Fibro. A huge, spreading, cathedral of a tree. It’s a camphor laurel. Basically, a noxious weed. Not that you’d want to go after it with a Weed Wand. You’d lose.
The tree actually belongs to the neighbours. It’s tucked right into the back corner of their yard, leaning against the paling fence like it’s saying ‘just move over a little and give me room, mate’. The fence is losing.
It’s not the most beautiful tree in the world (though trees are, by definition, on the good-looking side), but it shades the trampoline, brings the birds, shelters the possums (and seduces them away from our roof), and provides a natural screen for us and the three sets of neighbours who’d be waving at us regularly if it weren’t there.
Recently, the tree has developed some webby, blobby, brown growths on one branch. The kind of growths that make you shiver. Because you expect them to burst open at any moment and reveal…what? Aliens? Arachnids? Zombie babies? (You getting a clear picture of how creepy these things are?)
Last night, I was out under the tree watering the back garden (as per my plan to avoid the b*&ping internet for a few hours a day), when Mr3 wandered out to join me. He’d come to tell me that Alla Hoo Hoo was dropping by for dinner with her kids – all 38 of them. As I turned in horror to ask how I was supposed to make fried rice stretch to 41 people, he bent down and picked up something at his feet.
“What’s this?” he asked, big blue eyes innocent and wondering, raising something webby and brown toward me.
“Oh My God!” I responded, stepping forward, hand raised to sweep the alien/arachnid/zombie blob from his hands, Mama Lioness protecting her young and all that. Only to stop.
There, cupped in his little hands, was the tiniest, roundest, most perfectly formed birds nest I’ve ever seen. Like the ones you see in kids’ picture books. All it needed was a couple of Wedgwood blue robin’s eggs in it to feature in a Martha Stewart photo spread.
“It’s beautiful mummy,” he said, holding it with all the reverence its delicacy demanded. “I’ll put it on the table to show Dad.”
And off he went. Leaving me ready for ‘fight or flight’, and to ponder big questions about appearances, split-second decisions, and whether I’m overprotective.
I looked up. The webby, blobby, brown things loomed above me.
I gave thanks for the adrenaline surge.
It’s not all pretty birds nests out there. Good to know the Mama Lioness instinct is alive and well.