Same Equals Comfort

Sometimes the same routine, the same thing is a comfort.  Especially now.

This was my view the other day.  While we are in troubled times on so many levels, sometimes “the same” is a comfort.  Routine is a comfort; a safe place. Sitting in the 1825 Kitchen, in my “sit-able on-able chair” as I like to call it, I could hear an American Robin who has a nest nearby and the Carolina Wren.  It was just after lunchtime and I wondered if Lydia Coleman Mitchell could take a brief break after feeding her family, would she have heard similar things.  Likely not the Carolina Wren – they seem to have become more of a staple up here then they once were due to climate change.  But as I have noted before, the sunlight coming through the windows is mainly the same.

You might ask, if we are limited in what we may be able to do when we re-open, why have I “woken up” the Mitchell House.  For a few reasons.  Most importantly for the artifacts.  They’ve been boxed or covered or placed away.  They need to not be in that situation all year long and I need to be able to assess their conditions over the course of the months to come.  I need to conduct various possible small conservation projects, to clean them.  And, if I want to try and share some of them with you virtually, then I need easier access to them.  I hope, too that we will be able to welcome people in at some point this season albeit in a very different way.

But personally, and as curator of the Mitchell House, it’s nice to see everything set back in its place.  The same.  Routine.  It may only be me seeing it at this point but I drink it all in.  It calms me.  It makes me forget the rest of the world outside the door for a few moments.  I wish that for everyone – a place you can have to yourself for a moment – even if its standing in stark quiet in your kitchen – where you can breathe in the quiet and exhale the calm and push your thoughts to everyone as we sit amidst this unknown and unsettled time.  Hopefully, soon, we can be together again and the Mitchell House door will open out onto the street to welcome you again.  Know that I am inside working and awaiting your return – as does Maria and the Mitchells.  They are here too – as always.

JNLF

My Latest Visitor

This was my latest view out of the window by my desk at the beginning of February.  At first, just a “LBJ” (little brown job) and then I realized exactly what LBJ he was – a Carolina Wren.  There once was a time not long ago that they really didn’t spend the winter with us.  But as their feeding areas have been altered by climate change, they tend to stick around much more in the winter and there are greater numbers in the warmer months than I ever remember.  They have a wonderfully LOUD song.  A distinct one.  We once had one on our deck in the summer that was so loud, we had to close the door onto the deck as he continued to sing because my husband and I couldn’t talk over him.

Maria Mitchell likely only ever saw them during her trip to the South in 1857.  One of our birthday speakers this summer, Drew Lanham, is from South Carolina.  He awoke in his hotel room at dawn to the singing of a Carolina Wren and for a moment he said he was totally confused as he thought he was home until he really looked around his room.  He was surprised to hear one on Nantucket – and he is an ornithologist!

Wrens can be a little mean which I’m not too fond of.  They’ve been known to kick other birds and their eggs out of a nest and take it over.  But the male wren builds a few nests to a certain level, the female picks the one she likes, and then they complete the chosen nest.  That, I like!

The Carolina Wren was also a favorite of my friend and mentor, MMA Ornithologist Edith Folger Andrews.

JNLF