Last Thursday was a normal day, as normal a day as we Brills have.
Darlene to work at the hospital, the girls to kindergarten in the morning and then to daycare by bus for the afternoon, and I to the office to deal with a production problem haunting us for a couple of days now.
Thursday night is bowling night, and for the first time this year, we were going to go together and enjoy the night. Darlene had picked her brother up to baby-sit for us. I picked the girls up at daycare, like the end to every normal workday, and home we came. The girls in the house first to put their snow clothes away, and I downstairs to unload my own coat, and pockets from the tools of the day.
A scream came from upstairs. It was Ashley-Rea, my youngest. “Daddy, come quick, there’s a hummingbird in the house!”
“A hummingbird?” I pondered, “It must be a really big moth.”
A couple more shrieks from the girls, so I accelerated my pace. The girls were standing in the hallway looking into the living room, pointing at the picture window.
There was a bird, probably 8 to 10 inches in size, with a very large pointy beak. And this bird was panicked. I was stunned for a few seconds, and tried to figure a plan, while wondering how he got in, and “look at all this bird crap!”
So much for bowling.
I propped open the front door, which placed me between he and the door. The trick (as if I need to explain this) is to get behind the bird so flying away from me would move him nearer the open door.
I told the girls to go down stairs in the family room. The bird won’t fly down.
But now I was between the bird and the door and I chased him (her?) instead back to where the bedrooms were. And stupid me, I did not close the bedroom or bathroom doors. Only the guest room is closed to keep the girls from getting those things that have been taken away for past behavior issues.
Down the hall and into the girl’s room he flew. Perched on Alannah’s bed stand, then to Ashley’s, flapping and pooping. I used a towel to try to encourage him back out the door. Finally he flew out – but across the hall into my room. “Geeze”, I thought “Why did I leave that open?” and closed the girls room and the bathroom door behind me as I entered our bedroom.
He was in the back corner. How do I get behind him? Our room is more oddly shaped and from that corner the exit was not apparent. So I approached down the far wall, and he ran under the bed, I chased him from there to the other corner, but then we just went back and forth, and I was getting frustrated!
“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE YOU $%*^&@ BIRD!” I screamed.
Finally he flew out the bedroom door, through the living room, out the propped open front door, and onto a perch on the porch.
He sat their looking right at me and the girls through the storm door glass. As if to apologize for the intrusion, but still displeased with the poor welcome he received. He sat and looked at us. He was disappointed in us.
Very odd. But perhaps not as odd as I thought.
When Alannah was born, there was a bird that perched by clinging on to the brick above the window, and peeked into see Alannah in the hospital room, in her newborn bassinet.
When Ashley-Rae was born, there was a bird that routinely came by to peek in through the hospital window to view in the intensive care basinet while she spent 3 months in the neo-natal care unit.
We had always since thought that birds must somehow be the eyes that let those we love who have passed see our lives in their afterlife.
Silly? I don’t know. Perhaps. But now it makes sense to me. I’m a believer.
That night, as we were washing and scrubbing and working to restore our house back to an inhabitable state, cleaning the bird poop and trying to avoid the Avian flue, Darlene’s Mum called.
After she heard the story, she said “Someone in the family is going to die. That is what a bird in your house means.”
Great, I have no time for old-wives-tales. And we went about our business.
Today is Saturday morning. Piles of laundry yet to wash, and we have not even come close to cleaning our own bedroom after my “battle with the bird”. Darlene was asleep in the guest room. I was asleep on the futon downstairs. At around 8:00 am, the phone rang. It had that long distance ring – and I knew that something was wrong.
Then I heard it answered upstairs, and shortly after Alannah came to tell me that “Auntie Ellyn wants to talk to you right now”. I rolled over with the phone, sat up and wiped the sleep out of my eyes.
“Hi Fred”, the voice lacked Ellyn’s normal enthusiasm.
“What’s up?” I started, “oh, wait, I know what’s up. When did it happen?”
My Aunt Sheila had passed away. I had written about my Aunt Sheila in a recent blog “An Autograph from Christmas Past”. She is very important to me. Honestly I am happy for Aunt Sheila. Now she is free.
But that bird? That bird was there to warn us. To tell us. To deliver a message.
I am a rational man, known to be practical, and honestly I am not one given to superstition or old wives tales. But now, after the birds watching my two girls, and popping by the odd time, I think birds really are somehow, in a way we can’t comprehend, the messengers between this life and the next.
We were not home when the bird came to call. So he let himself in, and he waited for us. I was not too kind to our messenger guest, and now I regret that tremendously. I promise he was not hurt, but he was well aware he was not welcome.
If he did come on such a mission, I only wish he wouldn’t have pooped all over my house.