January 1st. After ushering in the new year and visiting with friends from out of state who were staying with us, we were all enjoying a late morning, sleeping in. Until 7:30, when the wife lurched up in bed, squelched a scream and startled me awake by exclaiming, “We have a bird in our bathroom!”
Just last week we had mosquito netting put up on all the windows and started leaving the bathroom window open.
“How did that get in here?”
“The question is, how are we going to get it out of the bathroom?”
We slowly came to terms with the sparrow fluttering on the sink counter. It hopped on to my toothbrush protruding from the blue ceramic holder.
“Throw my brush in the trashcan. That’s not going in my mouth any more.”
I stumbled out of bed and began working loose the netting to our bedroom window, since our best bet was to open the shutters in hopes that our early bird would see sky and grass and trees and make a quick exit.
But the installation was well done, with the hooks hammered into the wood. So I went pawing through drawers to find some thin instrument to prise up the hooks and release the netting. Finally, a tie clasp provided a corner to wedge under the hooks, and I peeled back the netting from the window. Then I opened the shutters to the outside world and, on cue, our winged intruder made his getaway.
What a way to start the new year!
Never in the 12 years we’ve lived in this house had a bird flown in through the windows. Now after getting netting on the windows, one apparently weasled in under the barrier to invade our bathroom, early in the morn of January 1st.
I’m not superstitious, nor do I go looking for signs, but joked to our friends that maybe our little visitor was a harbinger, the bird of blessing come to assure us of a year of success and health and happiness.
Except that we spent the first hour of our new day cleaning up, throwing out toothbrushes, sterilizing against germs and viruses that the critter might have been carrying.
Come to think of it, though, blessings are often like the messy bird.
A bundle of joy comes to a couple in the form of a newborn. But this bird of blessing means lost nights of sleep, frequent feedings, diapers to change.
The purchase of a new car looks like a bird of blessing, but there are higher insurance premiums to pay, a greater effort to keep it clean, more worry about scratches and nicks.
With any blessing, I suspect, comes a bit of a mess to wipe up.
But every blessing is restless, and after alighting upon our shoulders or wherever it decides to descend, it would be off again.
So as our sparrow fled through the open window to wing its way to destinies unknown, I prayed he’d find yet another window through which he might awaken another family to the promise of a new year and a new life.
I pray that bird of blessing may find its way from our house to yours. Mess and all.