Saturday, June 3, 2017

Humpty Dumpty

As I sat on my patio this morning sipping coffee and reading my new book, Trevor Noah's "Born a Crime", I heard a cacophony of little birds chirping just above. One doesn't need to be from the jungles of Panama to discern that these frantic signals were not jubilation, but an alarm of danger. Seconds later, the ominous bully descended upon the tree's canopy, his black wings flapping aggressively like loose window shutters in a hurricane.

Determined to put up a fight, the little birds desperately chirped louder and flew from branch to branch attempting to confuse and startle the dark invader. The crow remained stoic and unexcitable, calmly surveying the maze of branches and leaves while the tree's inhabitants flurried about in desperation. Looking up from my book, I sat paralyzed as I pondered the possibility of intervening. Should I let nature take it's course, or attempt to help the birds? What if the crow hadn't eaten in weeks, and was resorting to petty theft for a respite?

While initially letting the universe unfold as it may, in the end, I decided I did not like the menacing crow causing a raucous and disturbing the birds, even if their chirping often wakes me well before my alarm is set to go off. Feeling a sense of kinship with my neighbors, I stood up and shouted at the crow and waved my book as intimidatingly as one can from 15 feet below in pajama pants and a cardigan. I'm certain the woman pushing a stroller as she walked by thought I was crazy.

Despite our synchronous teamwork, the ruse proved futile. As though a hand reaching in to a shallow, clear brook to retrieve a shiny gem, the crow's beak plucked a nest I hadn't noticed from a branch and absconded to a nearby rooftop with its prize. I had acted too late. Disappointed, I sat back down, but kept my eye on the bird as I watched it shake apart the expertly crafted nest to sift through its contents. Luckily, nothing fell out. I smiled sipping the last of my coffee, and after I was certain the bird noticed I was giving him the stink eye, I returned to the memoir of a baby born to interracial parents during apartheid....a much calmer affair indeed.

I have since left my perch on the patio, but can still hear the birds. Their chatter seems to have calmed a bit, and now sounds like spouses arguing in a flooded basement over not having purchased the other house. Surely the female bird was right...I assume her partner will have a long day of reassembling what remains of their tousled abode. At least they didn't lose anything far more difficult to know, like health insurance, or...say a planet.

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