So as close friends know, and some who are not so close, I have been, as are many in the world, in a struggle in my late age with some who are still in a fairly early one. To center my soul, and, hopefully, my concentration, I had been sent the unexpected gift from the universe, of a mother Morning Dove, who made herself at home, or, more accurately, at nest, in what had been a flower arrangement on top of the air-conditioner outside my window. I watched first one egg be laid, then a second, saw her sitting on them, then was present, talking to a friend on the phone as the eggs hatched. Since then I have been, from time to time, hypnotized by the very slow progression of baby birds into bird-Being, as they chewed at the underbelly of their mom, came out, looked around, and slowly grew.
Then yesterday, when I came back from a less-than-enriching walk, my spirits being not quite as substantially lifted as one might wish and expect from a big birthday, I saw that my two little birdies, one of them named Fiona, (am not sure yet about the second,) were completely exposed, their little feathered backs not quite heaving, but moving up and down in clear indication that they were still alive, though vulnerable.
The same just before midnight, at least as well as I could see, and again a little after five-thirty in the morning when I got up to check again. I couldn't go back to real sleep after that, as concerned as I was. After all, it had been a while since I'd had a pet, and Carleen and had come to the airy conclusion that "anyone could have a dog."
Now it was seven, the air was clear, and there was still no sign of Mom. Today is Acacia's birthday, so I called to sing her a birthday song badly sung, and also to share my concern and worry about the borderline disappearance at the flight of my mother bird.
"She'll be back," said Acacia, being a Texas girl, where they still have small towns and country. "She had to go look for food."
But of course I had gone to Bryn Mawr, so thought I knew better. So I moved the wire-flowerpot-thing to the ground on the other side of the not-quite-fire-escape that overhangs the citified abyss, so when Sasha came to put in the air-conditioner, which he would have to do anytime now, because this is New York where the weather is irrational and we can't wait for real summer, he'd be able to do it without disturbing the birds, in the unlikely event their mother should return and they should live. No sooner had I done that, of course, it now being about seven-thirty A.M., than she came back, standing on the rail of the not-exactly-safe-place-to-go, strutting back and forth looking for them. I told her they were on the other side, opened the door to her, and short of shouting, struggled to make her see where they were, on the other side of the metal-I-guess-you-could-call-it-Balcony. But I guess she does not speak English or frantic gestures. So she flew away.
What to do? Is there Bird-Pray? Desperate, almost, and of course more than sad, for I had not understood Nature or listened to Acacia. So hoping for redemption-- after all, it was my birthday, and today is Acacia's, I moved the improvised flower-pot-holder-transmuted-into-nest back where it had been before, and butted out.
The baby birds were backwards: that is to say they were on the right side of the flowerpot holder where before they'd been on the left, but hopefully that wouldn't be too much of a non-stretch for Mom.
And sure enough, thank God, or thank Bird, within the half hour she was back, and they were feeding from her mouth or her throat or her belly, wherever they could find anything. So it is a tragic tale nipped in the bird. The whole little gang is at rest now, Mom on top of them, parts of them sticking out now that they've grown. I can only hope, pray, sing, visualize, whatever, that they will be grown and flown by the time I have to have air-conditioning or die, as one could in New York.
Or else maybe I can fly someplace else. Any suggestions?