Rising at dawn, I am never alone. Outside the window, I hear the long, pleasing, descending gurgles – “chuurr … chuurr … chuurr” – from the beak of my constant companion.
House wrens recently took up residence in a hanging pot of hot pink geraniums that I received as a Mother’s Day gift.
I discovered the squatters when I drizzled cold water on the flowers and an angry bird. I screamed as the mother wren exited her nest whizzing past me.
A common New England species, house wrens are five-inches tall and have a light brown head and back, dotted wings and cocked tail.
Couples build their nests anywhere handy, even in open mailboxes and flower pots.
Their nesting habits are poked fun at in the old limerick:
“There was an Old Man with a beard, / Who said: ‘It is just as I feared! / Two Owls and a Hen, / Four Larks and a Wren / Have all built their nests in my beard.’”
These days, our summer house at Fogland Beach is ablaze with hot pink beach roses.
Known by its Latin name rosa rugosa, the beach rose is a flowering plant that thrives in seaside thickets, dunes and salt marshes along the Rhode Island coastline. Tolerant of salt spray, they bloom from June through October.
The dark green bushes or hedges, ranging from three-to-six-feet tall, produce white, pink and red flowers, as well as orange-red fruit called rose hips. Their brown bark is densely covered with straight, sharp thorns.
They are also home to a menagerie of small animals, including many birds that nest within its dense foliage. The fruit, which resembles small crab apples, provides sustenance to all sorts of creatures.
Beach roses are so common here and such a familiar part of our landscape, yet they are not native to New England. The species was brought to the United States from eastern Asia in the mid-1800s.
Nineteenth-century New England-poet Lucy Larcom wrote about them in “Wild Roses of Cape Ann”:
“A rose is sweet / No matter where it grows; / But our wild roses, flavored by the sea, / And colored by the salt winds and much sun / To healthiest intensity of bloom – / We think the world has none more beautiful.”
Nesting for the past nine months, our daughter gave birth to a son this week. He is rosy pink, his hair is as soft as feathers, and we think there is none more beautiful.