This morning, as I was shampooing my hair, a memory I didn’t know I had beaned me. Some 30 years ago, my then-husband built a small wood bird feeder and secured it right outside our kitchen window. The birds would come so close that you could reach out to touch them, but for the shut window.
One dreary day, I was standing in front of the window and washing the dishes when I noticed a neonic parakeet amidst the squawking chaos of gray and brown and black. As a child, I had had a love affair with these fragile tropical birds, so I was especially moved by this tableau and thought I should do something to save one that had so obviously lost his way. Without my help, I was certain he would not survive another day of thick fog coming in off the San Francisco Bay.
With as much stealth as I could summon, I opened the window slowly slowly slowly and tried to grab the budgie, but he and the rest of the birds beat it and flew to the roof of a dilapidated garage that stood at the end of our driveway, where they lit. I was sure he was a goner, and I was so sad. If only I had been sneakier, I thought.
Several months later, I was washing yet another sink of dirty dishes, and I just happened to glance over at the garage. There, on the roof, I saw a row of gray brown brown black gray brown green and yellow gray brown black brown gray and so on.