Carolers on my Porch

by Lydia Wylie-Kellermann

These days my snow-covered porch is covered in discarded seed shells and bird poop. And I couldn’t be happier.

Cedar (age 4) and I have fallen into the Advent tradition of getting out pots and pans and measuring cups. He counts one cup, two cups, three cups, four cups of bird seed. Peanut butter, gelatin, cranberries. We mold wreaths and cookie cutter shapes and muffin cups. We wait days for them to dry. Then add them to gift boxes and stockings.

I gather up the scraps and crumples into a baggie that will go into my pocket on a Christmas day hike. Presents for the birds and squirrels and chipmunks. We walk through snow and find nooks and crannies in the fallen trees. Little surprises awaiting those friendly beasts who call these lovely lands home.

This year, a large wreathe we made as a gift split in half, so I put it out on the porch Christmas morning to rest under the other four feeders Cedar and I keep filled all winter.

It was indeed a great Christmas feast! There was a party like I’ve never seen out there. No social distancing amongst the songbirds. No masks to be seen other than the stunning black one on the chickadee.

Cardinals landed on snowy branches. Juncos. Sparrows. House finches. Gold finches. The downy woodpeckers joined the festivities, of course. Those two come each morning and eat beside the kids as they report for virtual school. Christmas morning also brought home the beloved and missed nuthatches and grackles.

The great feast continued all morning while inside stockings were lovingly dug through and breakfast was enjoyed. Before presents began, I was summoned to the window by the blue jay who begged I come and sit a while. I walked closer and there on the feeder I feasted my eyes on the red bellied woodpecker in their bright crimson glory.

We all rushed to the window in awe and majesty. Our hearts full. Mysterious and welcomed visitor. Stranger no more. We stood a long time.

Joy to the world…a weary world rejoices.

Lydia Wylie-Kellermann is a curator of, editor at Geez magazine, and editor of upcoming book The Sandbox Revolution: Raising Kids for a Just World. She lives in Detroit, MI.

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