Stinky Banks and Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers

"This is a poisonous mushroom," Beren repeats to no one in particular as he handles one of our Christmas tree ornaments.

Jared prompts Beren, "So what were we talking about today? Tell Momma. What was that place you made up?"

"The Stinky Bank," he answers.

"The Stinky Bank?" I ask. Jared laughs, "Who goes into the Stinky Bank?"

"People with a stinky attitude," is his reply.

To hear Beren ask for milk in the "Zabar's cup" or use the word "obstacle" or tell me "You may not" or tell Jared that he saw a "yellow bellied sap sucker" at the playground today kinda blows my mind.

As Beren sits on his "dozer", a old piece of railroad tie near the playground, he asks me what bird is up in the tree. I glance and say, "There is no bird, maybe some insects."

He asks again. I repeat myself, and then say, "Oh, my, yes, that's a yellow bellied sapsucker. Good eye."

We watch closely as the bird drills the tree. Sap drips down the trunk of the Norway maple. I explain how the bird forages and point out the sap. It's time for sugaring. The sapsucker works up the limbs, then down, almost to the ground.

"Where's the sap? Where's the sap?" We approach the tree and the bird will not leave its sugar bush. Instead it climbs higher into the branches.

I point to the holes the sapsucker made in the bark, and we poke our fingers into the openings and like our fingertips, again and again.

It's lovely, really lovely. Most of the day's worries wash away in a sweet trickle down the tree bark.