A tree stretches its branches toward the sky like a child reaching for her mother, crying to be held. Flying away from the weeping willow, a bird zips above leaves rolling across the lawn. They’re pushed by a zephyr stalking the yard for hungry breaths like those of the bird, who darted toward a window like a mother to her child only to answer the whimper of a hard reflection. The scene would be tragic if the gentle breeze didn’t pounce on the bird’s last gasp and roll her like the leaves, urging her to fly again.
My inspiration for this piece of flash fiction:
At different times, a bird has flown into my picture window. I used to look down at the driveway after hearing the bang, to see if the bird flew away or not. Some did. Other times, I couldn’t find the bird, so I assumed it had flown away. Sadly, there were times a bird didn’t make it. Usually, it would leave an oil splat and a feather or two on the window, evidence of its crash.
The last time I heard the heart-breaking bang, I found a tiny feather floating before the window. The bird was semiconscious, but it (she, I think) eventually died. By now a wrought iron window box extended across the bottom of the window, so the bird didn’t fall far–the iron shelf caught her. The moment before her demise was a sad one. Even sadder, I’m sure this was the bird who’d been building her nest moments before. I’d watched her and her partner busy about from a window in my study. I dedicate “Zephyr” to her, keeping in mind the birds who survived their slams into my picture window.
P.S. I try to make a habit out of drawing the shade halfway down so the birds get the hint that they’re seeing a “hard reflection.” But alas, I’m human. At times I forget to pull it down after my husband lifts it up. In his defense, the window offers us a beautiful view.
Update: I put decals on the picture window, which have significantly cut down the incidence of bird crashes. Once, a sparrow perched on the wrought-iron rail before the window. The smart little creature studied the window as if debating whether it was something worth flying into. Fortunately, it made the right choice:)