A storm passed overnight and the strong winds blew down the birdhouse that Miles and I had constructed over the winter from some old boards in the basement.

I’ve never been much of a carpenter.  The boy stood beside me as I lifted the quaint, but shoddy, peak-roofed box from the ground.  I had observed a pair of sparrows coming out in and out of the box in the days previous, but it now appeared empty with just a few brown pine needles.

I had selected some picture frame hangers to attach the short length of rope that would hold the house to the tree.  Unfortunately, the hanger Miles had nailed had given way.  I remembered him driving the nail in crooked and splitting the wood.  I had hammered it in for him properly, but not bothered to move the fastener, making for a weak attachment.

I assured my son that there were no eggs yet inside the house and that we would be able to repair it.  I ran into the basement for a hammer and suitable pair of nails.  I came back out and quickly nailed the fastener down in a slightly different spot.  I looked up at Miles who was watching me intently.

“I want to hammer a nail,” he said.

“Next time, son.  We want to get this right.”

I explained the error in our design that had caused the birdhouse to fall.  I retrieved a small ladder from the garage and tied the house to the limb of the red pine.  I heard Miles speak in that high fast tone of voice he uses when he gets excited.

“If the design is bad, we can fix the design.”

I laughed at him, unsure if we had really changed the design at all.

The days go on like this.


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