Red wings flitted through the mulberry tree. Be still my heart, a cardinal. It perched on the tangled grapevine—the grapevine my inexperienced hands had butchered during pruning season. Despite my haphazard gardening, buds managed to sprout. The cardinal pecked. It then flew up to a low branch on the mulberry. I thought the picturesque diversion was over when a baby cardinal swooped to the very spot on the grapevine that its mother had just left. It pecked just like its mama. A second one joined it, mimicking the pecking. The first baby cardinal spread its wings and blazed up to where the mother bird patiently waited, its sibling followed closely behind. They continued this pattern of pecking and flying onto higher branches until they flew out of my sight.
The sun began its descent. A squirrel scampered across the fence quickly and deftly better than any tightrope walker. It jumped onto the cascading leaves of the mulberry bush, the rustle betraying its presence. It then sailed onto the apricot tree where it once again became visible. It climbed higher, its eyes shifting furiously, like a robber focused on the prize but furtively scoping the surroundings. It leaped onto our house and scaled the gutter. It disappeared into a narrow seam at the base of the roof. That’s how I discovered how the squirrels made their way to our attic.