I love Aunt Elner because she reminds me of....
The narrator describes Aunt Elner's house:
Aunt Elner's house was a disaster, with pictures hung all over the wall helter-skelter, in no particular order, and her front porch was a mess. She had all kinds of things strewn everywhere: rocks, pinecones, shells, birds' nests, wooden chickens, old plants...
I too have pictures hung helter-skelter and the same things as Aunt Elner strewn everywhere (except in the house, not on the front porch). My stuff is on the sashes of the windows and on shelves throughout the house. About the only thing currently missing from the list are the baby pinecones I gathered from the pine trees we planted years earlier. A year or so ago, the cat deliberately knocked them off the shelf with her kitty paw and then batted them around the floor until they vanished (probably under the refrigerator).
I was going to start taking pictures of the cast-iron chicken and the rocks and the birds' nests, but everything is garlanded with cobwebs and dust, and I decided it would be better not to show the whole world what a terrible housekeeper I am. (The voice of reason says: "Why don't you go ahead and sweep down the cobwebs and dust, it wouldn't hurt.)
My birds' nest collection has dwindled some over the years as I found ones in better condition and began running out of room. Even so, in the late fall, once I know nesting season is finished, if I happen to spot a nest that is in reasonable shape and within reach, I will add it to my collection. So the other day when our son was out walking he spotted a nest and asked if I wanted to see it.
Yes, I did.
But this was not an ordinary bird nest abandoned at the end of summer. In fact, it wasn't a bird's nest at all. It was a mouse's nest. He reached up and touched the top of the nest, and they leaped out of the little hole, which was surrounded by fuzzy stuff, and scurried off in the brush.
I was not aware that mice made nests in trees and bushes. But they do. And as part of my Google search for information about mouse nests, I ended up at the The Mouse's Nest, a blog by a woman who has a young son who shares problems similar with our son. Something of a coincidence I think.
He thought I should cut it out of the tree and bring it back to the house. I got to thinking about the Robert Burns poem to the mouse where the farmer laments that he has destroyed the mouse's house. It looked to me like it was going to be hard to cut out and that would totally fall apart if I tried, so I left it be.