Pie in the Sky

On the first day of Autumn my true love gave to me: a pie plate in a fruit tree…

OK, so it’s not the first day of Autumn, technically. It is, however, the second day of October. And it’s 106 degrees outside. WTF?

Hiding inside, in the Carter-era central air, I’ve been staring out the picture window a lot. Usually at the birds in our lemon tree. We’ve got two feeders going; business is booming at both. There are finches, mourning doves, scrub jays, and more, all gathering in great, fluttery cliques at both locales. It occurred to me today that, with this weather hanging on like a bad case of the clap, they must all be roasting. Which is not a state that, as a bird, you want to be in. Unless you’re a chicken. In which case it is a state you are wont to be in. But this is beside the point.

I decided to have a heart and give them some cold water. For drinking, splashing in, soaking their feet — whatever their little hearts desired. Not wishing to increase their chances of being assassinated by the asshole cat from two houses down, I decided the bath I installed must be elevated. I would place it in the tree itself. I needed a vessel, then, both wide, shallow, and solid. And attractive. No Tupperware for our picture window!

I considered our Heath salad bowl, but decided, for obvious reasons, that employing it in this way would render me officially idiotic. I have a lot of love for birds, but not $125 worth. Plus shipping. Plus the lecture from my husband. Well deserved, of course.

I finally opted for a Pyrex pie dish I’d bought Mike two years ago at Christmas. It’s a sort of high-concept version. Or maybe medium-concept. Or a few inches above floor level. The point is: it has red silicone handles. I thought this was a great idea at the time, (“we’ll always know which one is ours!”), but Mike didn’t seem elated. He likes his pie plates unadorned, apparently. Sort of like his women. She said resignedly. At any rate, this one gets little use.

It’s propped in the crook of the tree now, filled with a half-inch of filtered water. (Yes, filtered. Do you know what’s in L.A. tap?) Weirdly, I’ve seen many birds come and go from the feeders, but none yet have opted to stick a toe (or claw) in. I don’t know why. Here I’ve provided the ultimate in ornithological luxury: a cooling pool — rooftop! — inches from their dining spot, and my feathery friends have, so far, have shunned it. Go figure. You’d think they’d all come flocking, bathing caps at the ready.

Maybe they prefer their pools — and their heads — unadorned. Although I could have sworn birds were colorblind. Or is that dogs?

Perhaps tomorrow, if it’s warm again, I’ll try a plain pie dish.

As for the high-concept Pyrex? I suppose it’d work as a water bowl for Mina…

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