A Bird in the Storm

The sky darkened suddenly around the little bird. He felt a storm was coming close. Bursts of rain were common in the forest and no cause for alarm.

“A bird must keep going,” he had often told his chicks when they were afraid. “The forest is the forest in the sun, and it is still the forest in the rain. We mustn’t let a little rain keep us from our work or tiny birds don’t get their worms.”

But a storm – that was a different thing. A storm was to be respected and guarded against. His ladybird watched for signs and tried to prepare. He never did and, in fact, he often chided her for her caution. In his opinion, storms were inevitable and no amount of preparation can help when the forest is angry.

Far from the safety of his nest and anxious about the gathering wind, the bird left off his search for worms and pointed toward home. But the rain was tremendous; it struck his outstretched wings and pushed him earthward as he attempted to fly.

A lunge. A leap. Little bursts of energy rising against the fury of the storm. Blinding light accompanied by a deafening crack of thunder gave pause to the little bird’s effort. Still, he knew he wasn’t safe until he reached his nest and further, his chicks would be frightened in such a storm. So, he pushed on.

The storm is relentless… loud… unyielding. It fights him at every turn. His confidence wanes even as he makes slow progress. It builds around him as if he is the target of wrath. Every peal of thunder seems greater than the last and every streak of lighting gets closer. The wind throws the little bird off course again and again and he curses its strength. But he keeps going.

Finally, after great effort, he sees little nest, high in the home tree. The storm is dwindling, the forest’s anger passing. He stretches his exhausted wings for a final climb and soars inside. Something is wrong. He knows it instantly from the sad look on the face of ladybird. He counts little feathered heads, little closed beaks. One, two, three… One is missing – taken by the storm.

“What happened?”

There is no answer because there is no answer. The storms of life take what they take. Only the forest knows. He has been taught this and knows it to be true. But still he wonders. Thoughts like great tempests assault his grieving mind.

If I had only been here!

Why not me instead?

What if I had built the nest stronger or in a different place?

Why didn’t I listen to the warnings about the storm?

What do we do now?

What do we do now? He is only a little bird – what could he possibly do?

He listens as his neighbors called mournfully. Songs of sorrow fill the trees and he loves them for it.

When morning comes, the little bird surveys three little feathered heads, three little empty beaks and knows they need to be filled. Leaving again is the hardest thing, but the only way to sate their mounting hunger. Back to work, back to the worms.

But nothing would never be the same. While he watches with joy as his three little chicks grow into fledglings, there is always something missing. Her absence makes the nest a hard place to be, but somehow, it is the only place that gives comfort.

Every day the forest shares something that reminds him of his little chick. In the early days, the reminders stung as hard as the rain of the storm he cannot forget. But in time, the little pieces of her give him joy and hope. And he is thankful to the forest for what it gives even while he is sad for what it took – a contradiction he would ever recognize, but too lofty a thought to understand.

After all, he is only a little bird.








I Broke My Pants

We’ve all heard the expression, truth is better than fiction. When you blog, the two are often woven together with neither being the predominant thread. I’ve been known to stretch the blanket from time to time to suit comedic purpose. Sometimes what could have happened is funnier than what actually happened; so we just go with that.

I was going to forgo posting this week. When you’re seeking high art like I am, you can’t force it. That would be like a five-year-old going to the bathroom just before a trip. “I didn’t have to go then!”

Nothing felt right so I didn’t write… and then life happened.

My pants broke.

In and of itself, this isn’t very funny. But the comedy of life is all about timing. Of course one’s pants do not break while one is at home or when one is in the car a few miles away. No, cosmic forces conspire against zippers to break at the least opportune time and in front of the most people.

I happened to be at work last night preparing for an important board meeting. Being a coffee drinker over fifty years old, I thought it prudent to seek porcelain relief before the meeting to avoid interruption. It was there that I discovered why a zipper is called a fly in common vernacular because the minute I touched mine it flew into a million pieces. Yes, my pants exploded twenty-five minutes before a meeting of the board of directors.

I surveyed my options:

  1. Safety pins. These proved ineffective in patching the devastation and impossible to fasten without help. It did not feel appropriate to seek help with my zipper.
  2. Skip the meeting. Bad option.
  3. Go FIFO – first in, first out. No one sees the gaping hole in my crotch.
  4. Hold my pants closed like a batter between pitches. Seemed too edgy.
  5. Replace the pants and arrive late but fashionable.

After sharing the dilemma with two very empathetic coworkers, I left them in puddles of laughter as I scootched out the door holding tightly the remnants of my pants.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

Two miles to Steinmart during rush hour. After ten minutes, I scootched into the store. Of course it was crowded. Of course they all pointed and laughed as I arrived. I quickly found a pair my size and for the first time in my life didn’t even check the price. Of course I interrupted an employee meeting outside the dressing room.

As I explained my dilemma to the cashier, the young man made a valiant attempt to stifle his laughter as I pulled the tags off my butt for him to scan. I have to give him credit. He tried. I didn’t bother with the receipt and I dropped the tattered threads I had worn to work that morning in the trash.

I’m sure the eruption of laughter inside the store was equal to or greater than the sound of my pants exploding in the bathroom just twenty minutes prior. I don’t care… I was headed back to the meeting without a giant hole in my trousers.

CURSE YOU, Atlanta traffic!

I walked back in at 6:29! I made it. I saw the sardonic grins of people as they checked out my new pants. The word had obviously spread. But I don’t mind.

6:29 and I’m back!

I declare victory over the Universe’s perverse sense of humor… this time. But I’m sure it will strike again. Maybe I should keep a spare pair of pants in my office.