Wandering Aimlessly


Red-Eyed Vireo

by Phil Burkhouse


I strolled across my mother’s yard with the weedeater running on idle.  I had been eating weeds and was headed back toward my truck with my quota of whacked weeds completed for the day.  I noticed a low hanging limb that was dangling slightly above head height and moved the weedeater to shorten it by a foot. The limb belonged to a very old and very large red oak, and as the eater revved up and I slowly moved it above my head, my eyes relayed a message of horror to my brain.

Near the end of the branch my eyes had focused on a gray object about the size of a baseball that I mistook for a bee hive.  I am very allergic to bee venom and quickly lowered the weedeater and stepped away from the limb.  As I regained my composure, I scanned for bees; none were present.  I carefully refocused on the hive and found it was actually a gray, sack-like cup suspended from a small fork toward the tip of the limb and not a bee hive.


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