Sunday, March 15, 2009

Little Bird

There was no reason in the world for the little bird to light down upon my windowsill. It held in its beak two little twigs , branches from an olive tree I think, or it could have been apricot, honestly I know nothing about trees.
My grandfather had an orchard and I spent summers there, but goodness knows I never did anything but lay around under the trees reading penny novels about cowboys and Indians that I had found down in the musty old cellar under grandpa’s dusty wooden house. I remember eating the fruits from the trees of the orchard.
One season in particular, came a crop of very sweet fruits. Apples, pears, and other delicacies sprang from the trees. The reds and greens were so rich and they may have been an indication of their sweetness.
I don’t know what made them so sweet, maybe it was the extra rain, maybe it was the wind from the north, who knows. I just remember eating the sweet fruit under the trees in the orchard. My lips touching their skins with anticipation for each bite. I often wondered if the birds noticed how sweet the fruits were too. Perhaps they just pecked at the fruits with their tiny beaks and never truly tasted them at all. Perhaps they were able to taste them and perhaps they did notice the extra sweetness this season.
Maybe they were wondering if the farmer put something special in the soil this season to make them so sweet. Maybe it was poison. Yes, perhaps that was it, maybe the farmer didn’t like the birds and was trying to poison them all. Would poison taste sweet though? Maybe it would taste sweet to trick you into thinking it wasn’t poison. If it were poison, then there would be no birds to wonder about the sweetness of the fruits, so that couldn’t be it.
Maybe the sweetness came from the rain. The clouds drifting by some strange cities gathering strange molecules to make sweet rain. Maybe clouds really do taste like cotton candy as I have long suspected. That may be what made the rain sweet.
Or it might be that it was something in the soil. The cows were eating a lot of Twinkies and their shit made the soil sweet, which in turn made the fruit so sweet.
Why those birds sat on my windowsill with those twigs is still a mystery to me though. Were they trying to tell me something?
Maybe I am making too much of all of this and they were just en route to their nests with some nesting material in their little beaks and needed to stop and rest. My windowsill was the perfect spot for them. The dark green paint was flaking off the wood of the sills but it was still a nice place to stop and relax.
Bugs sometimes came and rested on the sill too. Big giant bugs in the summer time. Those yucky green ones that you fear will get stuck in your hair. Japanese beetles I think they are called. June bugs are even bigger and yuckier. I had one of those stuck in my hair once. It was terrible. Every little girl’s nightmare.
Wait…Maybe bats would be worse. A bat stuck in your hair would definitely be worse. I can imagine them flopping around helplessly in my tangled hair, gasping for their tiny lives just as freaked out as I am. Maybe bats have terrible, scary nightmares about getting stuck in a little girls hair. Never being able to fly free ever again. They would rather be flying around using their radar to catch tiny, bug morsels from the air. Being stuck in a little girls messy, long hair definitely would be their worst nightmare.
When I was little, we used to play in the field until dusk. We would see bats fluttering about seemingly aimless. We would take small pieces of gravel and throw them in the air as high as we could and watch the bats dive for them thinking they were tender bugs to snack on. The stone would come crashing down, barely missing one of my siblings and we would laugh and laugh, rolling in the grass teasing each other about the near miss. Those bats DID know what they were doing after all. They could not be fooled by the small stone, they somehow knew it wasn’t an insect. How they knew was beyond me. Aren’t they blind? Later in the week, when my dad would take out the tractor to mow the field, he would be very angry to find all of those pieces of gravel. We hid in ours rooms to avoid the scolding. But later the next week, when the bats came out again, we would do it again!
I never did get a bat stuck in my hair. I think they are too smart to fly in a little girl’s hair, actually. They want bugs and fruit. That’s it! Maybe the bats did something to make the fruit extra sweet that year! They are probably much smarter than we give them credit for. Maybe the bats and those birds on my windowsill were conspiring together. Maybe they were building something monumental. They may have a whole bunch of buildings that we know nothing about where they harvest the sweet fruit and sell it on the black market. And maybe that’s the secret the little bird was trying to divulge. If it was, then it went right past me, just like those summer days when I would lay under trees, reading penny novels and eating sweet, sweet fruit. Gone before I even noticed.

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