August 7, 2003

A Day for the Birds

Setting: On the metro ride home yesterday, Ft. Totten stop. A mother and her two children board the train, followed by another woman, who had her hands cupped in front of her. The towhead boy sat next to the woman, across the aisle from his mother and sister.

For some reason, the boy - eager and inquisitive, his 8 year old face round and shiny - kept staring at the woman's hands. Oddly, she leaned and blew gently into them, as though to warm them. As she shifted, I saw that she was holding a sparrow, tiny and unmoving. She would open her hands and blow carefully into the sparrow's face, presumably to calm it as the train rattled to the next stop.

"Where did you find it?" the boy asked, staring at the bird.

"On the platform," the woman offered, with a small shrug. "His wing ..." She gestured with her shoulder.

"Are you going to keep it?" the boy asked.

"When she gets better, I let her go," the woman replied.

Looking over at his mother, the boy put his hands together to plead, as if in prayer. He wanted to pet the bird. His mother shook her head. He moved over to her side to engage in negotiations.

"My mother says that sometimes birds carry diseases," said the boy with a sigh, as he settled down next to the woman again. His hand hovered as he leaned in for a closer look.

"It's true," the woman agreed, smiling at the mother, "birds can carry diseases." She held the bird up, blowing into its face with a calm air.


I stopped at the Giant to get some milk (Lisa was making wicked good food, and needed ingredients). Walking to the milk aisle, I saw a flurry of motion above me. A sparrow winged its way to the dried fruit and nut aisle.


Driving home, milk in hand, I heard a stuttering chirping. It sounded like a bird, but the smell of sharply burned rubber told me that someone's anti-lock brakes needed adjusting.

Posted by Jason at August 7, 2003 10:15 AM | TrackBack

That's lovely! Synchronicity happens. But I'm worried about the birdie on the Metro - unless the woman holding it was a veterinarian, there's not much she can do for the bird. A lot of wildlife that people "rescue" are actually not hurt or abandoned, but well-meaning folks pick them up anyway.

Oh - and my cell phone ring sounds like a chirping bird.

Posted by: natalie at August 7, 2003 1:06 PM | Permalink to Comment
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