Unmeaning Flattery

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From The Page to Your Screen

Saturday 03/05/2005 12:27 AM

Those of you that have read Unscattering, may recognize the little character in today's photo. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, here is an excerpt:

So with the dogs locked in the bathroom (and complaining loudly), I open the front door and take a single step through to the porch. Gripping the knob tightly with it turned so the door will close without the locking click, I pull the front door shut and then release the knob. I turn around to spy my little friends, but I already know they're gone. It's not just the quiet and still out here in the screened-in space, but the lack of presence. Like that feeling you get when someone is staring at you — but the opposite. A tingling on the back of your neck warning you are alone.

My eyes move from right to left, up and down across the space, checking for any stragglers left behind, maybe trapped in a box or lost somewhere on the floor. A quiet peep sounds from the far left and I turn my head quickly to see the last little one near the hole in the screen.

His mother is outside in the large bush chirping encouragement and now I see the other little birds fluttering in the trees behind her. It's a big step for both of them. When that last chick hops through the opening and into the world, Mom will have accomplished her goal of raising another tiny flock, while the chick will be completing the final step of one stage and the first of the next. From the natural egg to the womb of the screened-in porch to the great beyond of flight and wonder.

As the tiny bird crosses the threshold, I wave goodbye and watch the birds rejoice — together again. Then one by one, they disappear into the sky.

After another moment or two, I return to the back of the house to let the dogs out of the bathroom so we can go for our walk.

File Under: From Unmeaning Flattery; Photography; Unscattering Baby Birds; Writing Sample
Music: Fairground Attraction "The First of a Million Kisses"

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