beaking and entering: a cautionary tale
quiescence, as often happens, was rather abruptly interrupted here the other morning. there i was, blah-blah-blahing on the phone, when suddenly, up above my head, i detected something flapping. it was not a butterfly. not a cicada–not yet anyway.
its wings, whatever it was, were making noise. right in my suddenly perked-up ear.
egad, i yelped, as whatever winged thing it was circled me, took off for parts south and west.
it was a bird, all right. a warbler or a wren. forgive me, i know not all my mousy-gray birds, and certainly not when they are diving for my head.
i thought, oh, how sweet. the birds have all been reading this here blog. one day i was yammering about putting out the smucker’s, the jam of choice should you care to bring on the winged things. the next, i was letting on about how i just can’t bear to bring the outside inside, mentioned how a little sharp-edged therapy was loosening the ties that bind.
and then, poof, the l’il bird brain puts two and two together, decides ol’ mrs. smucker lady needs to spend her morning up close and personal with a frantic feathered thing. the outside, rather fully inside.
fact is, i rather liked, for the while that it was here, having a little pet songbird. only problem was, it seemed a bit, um, rattled by the presence of my roof. and so it did was birdies do when they are rattled: it pooped.
oh yes, oh yes. it pooped and flew and flew some more. it was playing on the stairs. up and down. in and out of the bathroom (not politely putting that room’s function to any proper use, now, thank you).
it darted in our bedroom. checked out the bed, where poor cat, now wide awake, thought perhaps he was dreaming. he drooled, the cat did. but the bird did not. the bird kept darting in and out of rooms.
the oddest thing, as if none of the above is odd enough, i swear this house was sealed. the doors were closed. the windows, shut.
which reminded me of the night the bats came in, another night the house was allegedly, purportedly hermetically sealed.
i was home alone that summer’s night. had just come home from l’hopital, as the french would so poetically say it, with a belly stitched stern to bow.
i was sitting in my bed, when once again, flapping overhead. mon dieu, i might have said, keeping with the french, it is a bat.
but then more flapping.
it was not a bat. it was two. turned out a pair of bats were playing follow-the-leader around my bed, around my head.
soon as i dared to inch out from under the pillow, i called a neighbor. she tiptoed in, a blanket on her head. i tried really hard not to laugh. but she was in the foyer yelping for her life. she has a blood-curdling yelp, i discovered that very night.
and there is something about yelps and stitches ’cross your middle: they don’t do well together. not when you are laughing so hard you think the stitches, and what they keep from coming out, will split right open.
she yelped until my big brave warrior returned from the swimming pool. i yelled out the window, from the confines of my bat-protected room (i had closed the door, in the fastest dash you ever did see, ’specially for a lady holding her stitches to keep from splitting).
brave warrior, clued into the home invaders, did a warrior thing: he hauled in the yelping neighbor’s mate. they geared up for the occasion with bike helmets, soggy towels, and tennis rackets. tiptoed in, headed straight for the computer, leaving me alone upstairs, in stitches. quite literally.
while batman and robin googled “bats, how to chase,” i pressed against the bedroom door, ear held close, listening to the flap-flap-flap of bat wings in the hall.
to cut a side-splitting saga short: the racket-wielding boys, i mean men, opened up a window, and we surmised (you spend the night wondering, i assure you) that out the window the little batties flew.
which is where we return to the story of the little bird who came in for coffee the other morning.
at last, after much hide-and-go-seek, the bird and i found ourselves together in a room. poor thing, beak ajar, chest pounding, it was looking rather harried.
i tried to talk it down. it wasn’t listening. rather, it was flitting back and forth. from bed post to perch of closet door. when at last it banged into the window, my little bulb, the one inside my head, clicked on.
(“duh,” i can hear you saying. don’t think this magic computer does not tell me what you’re saying as you merrily read along.)
anyway, i opened the window, just like the bat boys finally did. tried to shoo. tried to point the way. but the birdie wouldn’t have it. stubborn little bird, he was busy polka-dotting. perhaps, i thought, he is waiting for some smucker’s all his own. served on little toasty points, on a silver tray.
oh, phew, at last, our playtime over, out the birdie flew. i saw him (i just have a hunch it was a boy, don’t ask me why), the little bird, land safely in the arbor vitae.
it was all, of course, rather eye-opening in the early morning. and, of course, the little sleeper child slept through every blessed flap-flap-flap.
while he wrapped up his little zzzzzs, i retraced the birdie’s every flap, wad of tissue with me, wiping as i went.
aha, the point of entry, i discovered. a front window, not far from where the nesting’s going on, it was open a crack and a half.
the little bird, it seems, took that as invitation.
this little tale, promised as a cautionary saga, really has no moral, no overarching point.
but in keeping with my promise i would offer only this: put in your screens, do not delay. you never know who might decide to beak and enter on an otherwise uneventful springtime morning.
it’s monday, people. time for wake-up tales of invasionary nature. anyone have a critter-in-the-crawlspace tale to tell?
and of course, just as once upon a time, monday meant washday, here at the chair it means the lazy susan spins afresh.
finally, hope that all of you who mother (and that would be all of you, in one form or another) had a most lovely mothering day. we sure did here…