Saturday, July 23, 2011


(Pre-Script: This post is at it's best when read as the song, "Blackbird,"#30 on the playlist, plays in the background. Go down to the playlist, click on that song, then come back and resume reading. I'll wait...)(...still waiting...)

Outside my window is an Italian Cypress tree; when I say "outside," I mean that the tree is not two feet away from the window. For some reason, this year, the mother bird decided to build her nest neatly inside the tree at a level where if you stand on a chair, you can look straight into the nest and watch her baby birds for her. There is window glass separating you, but as I said before, you are not even two feet from them. That is close enough to see the distinction between their tiny baby bird eyeballs and the brown outlining them. If you realize how tiny that is, you have a sense of just how close you are to these baby birds, and how often are you ever that close to baby birds in the nest, to watching life science happen right in front of you, and not on a screen? Except that the window separating you is like a TV screen, if you want to think of it that way.
The first thing I did this morning was check on the progress of that fluff mass; that's what they look like when they are all asleep and huddled together. Even so close, you wouldn't think it was anything but left over dirty cotton balls that somehow landed in the tree, except for the collective sighs of rhythmic breathing that moves the mass up and down. But then, keep watching and a beak pops out, and then the magic of four separate beaks and four separate bird bodies silently individual but all calling out. When nothing happens, they fall right back into one sleeping indistinguishable mass. Where is their mother, and why does she leave them there for long stretches of time, alone? I know that babies need to sleep sleep sleep, but I also know that sleep is often a sign of depression, and if your mother were gone most of the day, and you were just a baby not old enough to make anything of yourself in this world, not even old enough to leave the proverbial or actual nest, don't you think you might be a little bit depressed? Think about it.

I see the mother about once a day. She feeds them, and then she flies away again. When they open their tiny bird beaks and raise their tiny bird heads to be fed, they look like that whack-a-do arcade game where you are supposed to whack the thing with a mallet when it pops up. I've always been sort of good at that game. It's the kind I play over and over so that I can get a gillion tickets with which to claim some prize I don't care about, which will likely break the moment I open it's wrapper. It's more about earning the thing than the thing itself.

Once mother bird is out of food for the babies, (or maybe when she is just fed up, she has had enough, somewhere among all of the childrearing and housekeeping she has lost her identity and needs to go and find herself in a wilderness or game of tennis or badmitton or backgammon) she flies away, the so-tiny-as-to-almost-be-imaginary bird beaks settle themselves into their sleeping dirty cotton ball mass again and resume their sleep. I see her point. Why stick around when her babies are so boring so often. I think she was deliberate in placing her nest where it would face the window just so, knowing that while she worked, the human kind would watch her babies for her. It's so hard to find good help these days, but I got my official babysitting certification badge at the age of 14. Someday, when their fluff becomes winglike and they insist on flying off to live their own lives, she will look back and regret every moment she is not here for them now. I'm just saying. Until then, I'm a sucker for this sort of thing, fascinated by every day miracles hidden in plain sight.


1 comment:

Football and Fried Rice said...

I think that mama knew you'd do a good job!!