Bird Watching

Here’s another “400 Words” essay I wrote awhile back.  I’m also submitting it in response to this week’s writing challenge:  “From Mundane to Meaningful.”

A funny thing just happened.  I was sitting here at my desk, trying to squeeze some inspiration from the scribblings in my little notebook.  My brain moaned in protest as I tapped the keyboard, and I waited for some jewel to drop from the sky onto my screen.

I looked through the open blinds and noticed little sparrows flitting around my yard.  They resembled dead leaves, grayish brown and fluttering from tree to fence to tree.  One bird was blue with an orange chest, the only color in a dull winter landscape.  Suddenly, a little sparrow flew right toward my window and hit the glass in front of my eyes.  The creature then took off sideways and hit another pane, and once again headed my direction.  Finally, it lighted on a very narrow space on the lower ledge.  Looking for footing, it clung to the screen, and I watched without moving, not wanting to startle it further.  I could see it breathing rapidly, and its chest quivering.  After a few minutes the sparrow seemed to calm down and its breathing was more even.  Another bird just swooped down, gave it a tap, and it flew off to perch on the edge of the gutter on the roof as if nothing had happened.

That sparrow was telling me something.  I watched as it hit the glass – three times!  The bird was like me, floundering one way then another, hitting obstacles left and right.  But then it found a place to recover, catch its breath, and regain its sense of direction.  The little sparrow then flew off again when the time was right.

I’ve never been like those ducks and geese that fly south for the winter in a perfect “V”.  There is no doubt of their timing or destination.  It’s something that they’re born with, that sense of direction.  They follow the leader in formation, never deviating from the plan.  I’m more like the sparrows. They migrate too, in well defined routes, and go with the flow to find warmer places.  But each bird has its own pattern and flies in circles and swoops and hops and waves.

I marvel at the geese with their strong wings flapping regularly, necks outstretched and head like the tip of an arrow.  They are so sure of themselves.  But I’m more delighted by the sparrows, weaving their invisible maypole ribbons just outside my window.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marian Van Eyk McCain
    Aug 08, 2012 @ 02:53:42

    What a lovely metaphor!


  2. pearlinocean
    Aug 11, 2012 @ 19:52:30

    I think it’s beautiful.


  3. Untitled Adventure
    Aug 13, 2012 @ 12:45:57

    Lovely! I think I’m a sparrow, too. 🙂


  4. lisajan
    Aug 26, 2012 @ 01:18:59

    I enjoyed the post. I sit right by the window here at my computer and often pull the curtain back to look out while I’m racking my brain to think of something to write. I can barely see the birdbaths in the field from my vantage point. I see lots of bird activity from here, especially bluejays.


  5. Doug Bruns
    Aug 27, 2012 @ 08:30:19

    As a birder and a writer I find your observations, leaps and insights beautiful and refreshing. Lovely little meditation. Thanks.


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