Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Familiar Face

Last night, after the rapture of a perfect sunset, a good meal and a bath for Duncan, I was sitting down on the couch for an evening spent with a good book when I heard a familiar whistle outside my door. It was a short burst, quick and high-pitched, a tone I have tried many times to mimic with my own two lips but have been unsuccessful at matching. I stood up, turned down the lights and very slowly opened the door. It was as I'd hoped but somehow was better because this time it seemed magical, as if something in The Universe wanted me to be a witness and trusted me to stay out of the way.

Perched atop the bright red fire alarm, just as it had been all last summer, crouched a tiny mud swallow, its eyes alert and bright, its body firm and compact, the gold of its belly warm against the red alarm. It turned and looked at me, ordinary in every way. Just a bird. A dark little bird with an ordinary song and a drab name, but something magnificent because it had found me again and decided that my doorway was the best place––a safe, trusted place––to fulfill its promise to the world.

Duncan was at my heels and when I gasped at the sight of the thing, he pushed forward to investigate and then sat when he heard me coo softly, "Hi, little bird," as I did climbing the stairs every afternoon last summer.

It didn't ruffle or tense, but merely stared at me a bit, as if trying to place my face, then looked away.

My old friend is back, and even though it may seem an inconsequential thing, a silly thing to get excited about even, it means a great deal to me because, as I have said a thousand times, God is in the details, and this little mud swallow, is a fine detail indeed.

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