Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Curious Birds

A couple months ago, I was in my kitchen fixing breakfast and packing lunch when I heard an odd animal scuffling-like noise. I'd stop, listen, it would stop. Then, 30 seconds later, again! Where in the hell was it coming from? I thought maybe it was a mouse rooting around in some cupboard or in a wall, but I could not for the life of me pinpoint the noise.

I let my cat, Hershey, into the house. I thought, okay, this will solve the mystery, and sure enough, the distinctive knocking, scuffling. Hershey's body stiffened and he took off into the living room at a quick trot. I followed, but then, the noise disappeared and he seemed as mystified as me. Bah, whatever, I gave up! But, not long after, I spotted Hershey staring intently out the window, so I stopped to watch, too. That's when I spotted a female cardinal just outside the window. She looked jittery, on edge and then, bam!, she flew into the window, frantically trying to figure out why she was thwarted by an invisible force field. Over and over again she hurtled herself at the window. What the hell was she trying to get at...I didn't see anything shiny or especially inviting. After that, she was there every morning for the next week, knocking at my window. Most recently, she's been replaced by a little White-Eyed Vireo (originally, I thought it was a Carolina Wren but was mockingly informed that I was a moron by a know-it-all friend). These birds don't even care that I'm on the other side of the glass. In fact, I think it infuriates them when they see me. It's like they're saying, "How the flippin' fuck did you get over there?" I just laugh.

This whole situation is insane. Every morning like clockwork. The birds' newest past-time, Window Wars. I wanted to relate this story to you, because by god, it's hilarious, but I keep thinking there must be a law in it somewhere. You know, it kind of reminds me of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.

These poor, misguided birds are long on courage but way short on wisdom. On and on, they bang they're heads and flap their wings against a window that will never open for them. How many of us do the same thing every day, in our personal and professional lives? Maybe, right now, we should all take a minute to reflect on all the things & people we are incessantly trying to change. Are any of these things truly going to change? Or, might we be better served to accept it as is and move on? Perhaps what needs to change is us, instead of the world around us. And, this is when serenity finds us.

Law #4 - Be smarter than the curious birds, stop banging your head against impenetrable force fields.

P.S. Soon, my blog will be changing a bit. I accepted an invitation to serve with the Peace Corps in Zambia for 2 years, leaving Feb. 14. I'll be fiddling with the template and background, and I anticipate entitling it, "The Paddle Lays Down the Law in Zambia." If anyone has any suggestions for a more clever title along those lines, please feel free to share!