Tuesday, January 8, 2013

i saw a sparrow

Probably I saw a sparrow.  A house sparrow, I'm guessing.  I asked my fourth-grader who's been studying birds and can identify dark-eyed juncoes, two or three types of sparrows, and four different kinds of finches.  Just to be sure.  He said it was a house sparrow, definitely.  But then he always asservates with utmost confidence whatever it is he says.  At any rate, another bird!

I have the kind of kitchen birds fly into.  I'd left the door open, carrying in groceries.  But they come in through the screenless windows, too, in the summer usually.

Once we had a hummingbird on the windowsill.  Once a tiny wren flew down the chimney. Usually I open the cheap aluminum single-pane windows we have and the birds fly out again.

This time I got my camera.  Maybe this could be the month of Seeing Wings.

I can write about this.  As the bird frantically beat against the ungiving glass. What would I write? As the bird flew from one window to another, seeking light, seeking sky.  Flurry of wings against another window.

I followed the bird, at an unhelpful distance, to the front room and the large windows there.  The glass here as hard as anywhere, hard as ice and deceptively bright.  Now the bird was tired, barely skimming over the swept floor, beneath the piano.  I followed it as it skiffed just in front of my feet into the laundry room.

Where it hid behind the sorting thing, unbleached cotton bags hanging from an aluminum frame:  whites, lights, darks -- then sloped up suddenly and came to rest at the top of the shutters.  Oh good, sitting still enough now I can get a good shot.  The bird's mouth gaped and gaped.

Its body tipped back.  That's weird.

A little further the bird tipped back, its body tipping and tipping until its exhausted claws let go and it fell back against the curtain, catching itself at the sill, its sad skinny feet weakly grasping at the air.

Oh my goodness!  What have I done?  And I finally put the camera down.

Finally shooed the bird as gently as I could, almost sweeping it with my hands as it brushed over the floor, barely above ground, to the open front door nearby.   A near escape, it may live to tell its young.  If it isn't too worn, too traumatized to survive whatever dangers lurk outdoors.   I feel ashamed.

A bird's life is maybe not the joy of flight it looks like from the outside.  I stood at the front door, seeing if I could see it, but it was hidden too well from my predator eyes.

There may be a symbol in there somewhere.

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