Last time I wrote about coming across a bird that had fallen from its nest onto the sidewalk below. It was barely breathing. Its eyes were closed. There was nothing I could do to save it. I shielded it with a piece of bark and acknowledged its life, however brief.
A few weeks ago, I stood at my bedroom window giving thanks for the new day. I looked out and not six feet from the pane, nestled on a pine branch was a nest. And in that nest there was a bird. The tiniest bird that you ever did see. Featherless, smeared with yolk and exhaustion, sightless, it had just emerged from its shell. Stunning. What timing! I felt as if God had spun a wheel and the arrow landed on, “Show Debra a miracle this morning.” I was spellbound watching a new life unfurl before me.
Over the next two weeks I watched the family care for their hatchling. The mother would sit atop the bird and an as yet unhatched egg. Sometimes she’d leave and the baby bird, its feathers growing in and its eyes now open, curled around its younger sibling still in ovo. One morning I woke up to the sound of the mother calling to the father,”Come on already! I’m hungry. The baby’s squawking. Put on your wingtips and get over here with some chow!” The male showed up moments later. He fed the female from his beak. She performed some sort of avian culinary magic and placed something that looked like a tiny white lentil into the baby’s waiting mouth. The male sat on a branch nearby, a bright red sentry on alert for danger. I swooned in amazement and wonder. A day or so later, the nest was empty, save for the unhatched egg. A day or so later, it too was gone.
Kids notice things: tiny things, big things, curious things that we big folks let pass without notice. Kids at Heart get the best of both worlds: conscious witness to wonder.
P.S. You have to look very closely to see the baby bird. Its beak is open.