I am not sure when or how it all began, but sometime during the past decade, I developed a special connection with deer. They are so beautiful, elegant, and serene, and whenever I see them, I tend to take a deer sighting as a good sign. No matter how many times I see deer, they leave me in awe.
Birds? I barely notice them, unless they leave a mess on my car or wake me up too early on the weekend. Even then, I quickly relegate them to background noise. Until now. As I opened up the blinds in my youngest daughter’s bedroom, I let in more than just some natural light. I let in a new creature into my spiritual animal menagerie.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a beautiful bird resting in a nest amidst a tapestry of leaves and branches. I marveled at the careful construction of the cozy nest that was hidden from the scorching sun and potential predators. I don’t know how long the nest had been there, but up until that moment, I had not seen it. And so began an unlikely love affair.
Periodically during the day, I would check on the bird, like some sort of aviary voyeur. During one such trip to the window, I noticed that the nest was empty. My heart sank a bit, as I wondered where the resident had gone. Then, I caught a glimpse of something else that really made me take notice. An egg. The bird was an expectant mother!
My obsession with the tenants in the tree went into overdrive, and I morphed into a mother hen. I kept checking on her and her egg, and I was pleased to see another bird, perhaps, the father-to-be, there from time to time. At some point, between my late night check and my first check of the day, they welcomed not one, but two, baby birds to their nest. Somehow, I had not seen the second egg, but there was no missing the two little birds who were huddled together, with their mouths open wide, waiting for breakfast in bed, or nest, as the case may be.
As I watched them out the window, I could not get over how tiny they were. Or how not cute they were, either. They definitely lacked the cute and cuddliness of other babies, human or otherwise. They were scrawny, bald, and wrinkled, and they barely looked like birds. And I could barely take my eyes off them, except to wipe away my tears.
As I watched them waiting for one of their parents to return to the nest, I suddenly felt a pang of sadness. They looked like I felt. Vulnerable. Small. Exposed. I felt this instinctive need to protect them, to comfort them, and to reassure them. I wanted to tell them that everything was okay and that they were not abandoned. In essence, I wanted to say to these two baby birds everything that I have needed to say and do for myself lately, as I have been flailing around like they were, just in a bigger version of a nest.
There is a whole world, both seen and unseen, outside of my window. Sometimes, though, I am stuck in the past, focused on the minutia of the daily grind, or paralyzed by fear of the unknown, and I miss the little joys and miracles right in front of my eyes. Opening those blinds in my daughter’s bedroom ended up opening my eyes and heart to that family of four and to myself. Birds of a feather flock together indeed.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: That's Another Story