What was she thinking?
This mother bird built her nest on a fire escape. Granted it was high up and the stairway old and rickety, and hard for a human adult to climb. And yet any stealthy cat could easily maneuver its way to the top if hungry enough.
I was out walking, with my mask on of course, and I saw three little kids hovering around these stairs, excited. “Mom!” they yelled, “There’s a nest and a mommy bird sitting on her eggs.” The mom let them look for a few moments. I kept my triple social distancing. I could see this scene struck a chord for the mom. How is she like the bird? How has she put her own little babies in such a precarious position? How have we all?
The family left, but I lingered. I chanced climbing these rusty stairs to get a better look and a few photos. She looked at me right in the eyes. “Don’t judge me, ” she seemed to say. “How different are you than me? I chose this place for the view of the park. I like a good view. It was easy to build this nest and I will take my chances.”
I thought of all the ways I have made choices based on ease or what I just liked. I thought of all the ways we, as a society of humans, have done the same. We take risks and go after or take what we want without always considering the future consequences. Sometimes we get lucky and get away with poor impulsive choices like these. Sometimes we don’t. In the present times, perhaps we are experiencing a fall out of many, many of those kinds of choices and their cumulative effect on ourselves and the world at large. Sometimes we get caught.
For momma bird, we will see.
For the last three days I have gone and checked on her.
She looks at me and says. “I am still here. I see the Chicago river, and the trees budding, the leaves holding back from their arrival until they are sure there will be no more snow. You see, the trees are pretty exposing too, not really more safe. I see the children playing in the park, and people walking their dogs. Yes I see that black cat that you see, too. I see her circling the bottom of the stairs. Maybe she has some kittens to feed. I sit very still and hope she just keeps walking. This is life.”
I am drawn to return to this fire escape each day. Funny, it’s built to escape a fire or a threat, while momma bird sits so precariously, enjoying her view. Somehow she accepts the inevitable cycle of life.
I am afraid for her and her babies. I am afraid I will show up tomorrow and see an empty nest and feathers strewn about. Or maybe she will be just fine. Maybe she will even be feeding her babies or soon teaching them to fly.
I am afraid for myself and for mankind. And I know this bold, yet fragile, being has been sent to me as a message from beyond.
What is she saying to you?