The birds got my onions. I am sure those sleepless hooded insensitve creatures came in the dead of night, swooped down on my little vegetable patch at the end of the garden and made marvellous delicious plans for the menu they were preparing for their midnight feast. Lifting those tiny vulnerable onions into their slimy pointed beaks they must have laughed and cocked their black evil eyes yonder to the house knowing the innocent exhausted dog tired human lay snoring in her bed, dreaming only of Fall when bunches of golden organic onions would hang from the rafters in the shed. Shattered dreams as I sauntered down to the garden this morning, feeling confident and shyly earthy only to be confronted by gaping holes where the dear onions once lay nestled in the black earth. I thought I could be safe without the bird netting for at least one day but alas my work was in vain. Nature had won over and played its joke on me. Day flew from that small epiphany. Clothes hung on line in warm sunshine and dog washed on the lawn for the first time in months. Nary a protest, in fact he looked invigorated and glistened like a fat seal basking in the bay of Monterey. I drove to the garden center and walked in expecting to see thousands of onion plants lying in wait for me. Not one left, sorry, Rudi, the gardening whizz kid informed me. So I had to make do with shallots, tasty in almost everything but not a patch on a humdinger of an onion. I bought some green bird netting and a blue plastic bird, one that sits atop a little spike and you stick it into the soil so that when the wind blows the wings spin and make a small racket, for all the world like pebbles being shaken in a bucket. Rudi looked at me strangely almost quizzically and said vaguely '' so you're buying one of those.''...........Cryptic? Was he really saying''that plastic kitsch or you stupid onion crazy woman''? Not sure, he's from Holland so I expected him to come straight out. Anyway, Hubbie said with the fine weather he would do the barbecue, burgers, something easy. I headed over to the butchers. Sean is usually in good form but today he looked pretty rough. Sean has many issues. I have learned that from talking to him in increments over the years. Today he did not say anything. He looked like he had a terrible hangover. He muttered something and I think he said are you happy? I smiled not sure if he said that or not? I said two pounds of chuck please Sean and can you cut up a large chicken. (Incidentally, I met this guy the other week from Sri Lanka and he gave me the most fabulous recipe for a chicken curry. Honestly, it is to die for.) Back to Sean. What is funny about him is that he wears a shirt and tie underneath his little white butcher coat. It never ceases to strike me how uncomfortable he looks, as if the tie is choking him and the collar chafes and strangles him gradually until he cannot breathe. One day he told me that he never sees his kids. His ex won't allow it. His face grew tired and red at the same time and I felt tremendously sad for him. Another day he had a horrendous black eye and looked contrite. To me the collar and the tie are a metaphor for his life, the choking clawing nature of his existence, the monotony, the drone. His invisibility. Sean wiggles his neck as if he is trying to escape but its been choking him for a long time and so he lives with it. When I got home from my interlude with Sean I went back down to the garden with the shallots and the netting. I did the whole affair over again and covered my fresh patch with care. I stuck the blue plastic bird in a pot overflowing with mint and waited for its wings to start spinning. But they just hung idly by its side, not a sound, the blue face mute. Overhead a bird sang on the telegraph pole. I am sure she was sending out a message, roughly translated from bird lingo I am positive it went like this: ''She is back. Shallots this time. Check out the blue bird, its a (H)OWL!!!!!...............''