I got a new bookshelf over the weekend. It wasn’t a really expensive bookshelf, but I’ve been meaning to buy it for about six months and waited until I had the money to get it and the time to go pick it up. I am a big book lover, and I really needed another bookshelf. My husband and I shared one bookshelf in the guest bedroom and most of my books were in storage. Now, I could finally pull my favorite old books out and re-read them. My husband moved the new bookshelf into my office last night.
My new bookshelf. I stared at it, pristine beauty in white. It is a thing of beauty, a thing of great possibilities. It will hold books I have and books I will get. Ahhh, such a beautiful dream — until last night when I started to unpack the books to go into my new bookshelf. The only place the new bookshelf could go is in my office, and my office has another name – the bird room. Where I see great beauty, my birds see a great chew toy.
For more than 15 years we have waged a war, me with my furniture and books, magazines, family pictures and Bibles, the cockatiels with their unrelenting beaks. I tell them “No,” I try to supervise them, I move their cages, I give them lots and lots of fun toys. To no avail. They see what is mine as something they must conquer and destroy.
I am afraid for the new bookshelf in the bird room.
As I pick each book out of the two large storage boxes, I reflect upon its content, when and I why I bought it, the happy memories the book brings. And then I picture it chewed into pieces. With each book I had to decide, the safety of the storage box or the unpredictable future of the bookshelf in the bird room.
After so many years, there is no anger, it has all passed. Ever since the white wicker furniture incident, I no longer blame my `tiels. I blame myself. I find myself standing before the new bookshelf, staring at it in all of its unchewed perfection. Am I tempting fate? By putting the bookshelf here in the birdroom am I just making it inevitable?
I move the plant and its stand over to make more room for the bookshelf. I absently pull off some leaves that the birds had somehow gotten to and chewed. The poor helpless plant, the poor helpless bookshelf in the bird room.
I spend the next hour moving books over. I keep the birds in their cages. They watch me with interest. I can see their eyes gleam, their beaks glistening, ready for battle. I keep moving books in. Finally, I am done. It is such a site, everything clean and nicely in place. No poop to be seen, no seed hulls, no chewing. I am tempted to throw a blanket over it all to keep it safe.
It is 11 p.m. I say goodnight to the birds and look at the books in the bookshelf in the bird room one more time. I can still hope.