We were still in bed, working hard to deny it was morning, when we first heard the pitter patter of little feet. Or was it the flutter of tiny wings? Before long it stopped and we didn’t think about it again, until it returned the next morning. Could something be skittering on the outside of the house? Had a critter worked its way into a wall again? Had a bird fallen down the chimney and become trapped in the wood stove? After an initial round of investigation, Ben came back and reported the source of the sound: a robin was flying into my office window.
That news didn’t make much of an impression on me. Birds fly into our windows all the time. Which doesn’t mean that I’m not saddened and puzzled when we find the remains lying on the ground, but it feels like just one more aspect of the way things are. In very short time, however, this began to feel different, as that robin returned over and over again only to throw itself against my window. At least I hope it’s the same robin; please tell me there aren’t a multitude of these suicide bombers fixated on my piece of glass. Whether I’m focused on sermon writing or mindlessly wandering around Facebook, its arrival is always startling as it crashes into my window. Repeatedly. From time to time, it takes a break from my window, turns 90 degrees and attacks the bathroom window, only to return – again! – to my view. I haven’t discerned what bodily fluids it’s splattering on my glass, but I’m thoroughly convinced this is not good for its health, and not high on my top ten list of morning greetings.
But honestly, this isn’t all about me. When I recover from the jolt of its arrival, my mind screams: stop it! Because it’s the way I’m wired, I’ve roamed through a list of possible interventions. Could we erect a piece of plywood in this corner and effectively block access to the two windows? Do I need to climb up on that section of roof and plant myself there for an hour or two in the hope that it’ll flutter off and find something more constructive to do? If I can push my mind further out of the box, will I come up with some realistic option for saving the bird and sparing me? There must be something I can do to bring this madness to an end!!
This is a painful confession for me to make, and not one I’ve come to easily, but it is finally clear that there is nothing I can do to save this little creature from whatever demons are driving it. Maybe it likes beating the head upside a glass wall. Rumor has it, however, that this may be part of a mating ritual that drives it to attack the competition it thinks it sees in the reflection. If that’s the case, I can only hope the season turns and hormones settle, or it finds a mate and turns this energy to something constructive, like building a nest and providing for its young. In the meantime, I don’t have to accompany it on this self-abusive path of destruction. I think I’ll go build a nest and fill the feeder. Maybe even get some worms.