A BIRD-LOVER’S JOY
A wonderful event happened right outside my house.
It happened just last month, to be precise, the day after Vishu which is the Malayalam New Year.
I had just returned from work and was parking my car in front of the tool shed which was just about three or four yards away.
Through the windshield I noticed something on a narrow ledge at the right side of the tool shed.
I was curious.
When I stepped out of the car, I realized it was a bird’s nest!
Was I excited!
I am a bird-lover and oftentimes I would go to a park and watch the activity of birds through my binoculars.
It is a great pastime and would keep me engrossed for a long time.
Nature lover though I was, to the best of my memory, I had never seen a bird's nest, except in magazines and on television.
Sometimes, I’d watch birds from my house too, but I was cautious about where I was pointing the binoculars.
I didn’t want my neighbours to think I was prying into their movements!
And now, to think there was a bird’s nest right outside my kitchen door!
I was overjoyed.
A bird was sitting on the nest.
I took a couple of steps closer.
Seeing me approach, in a flash, it flew off.
From its red breast I realized it was a robin.
Curious, I went up to the ledge and peered into the nest which was perched just at eye level.
There were four eggs in the nest.
They were all in a lovely shade of bright blue, so vivid they almost looked like painted Easter eggs.
I was puzzled.
The robin was noted for its red breast and here, the eggs were in such a bright blue color.
I asked Ava and Herb, my neighbors who are Americans, about this.
They confirmed that robin's eggs are indeed blue.
That was news to me alright.
From the second I sighted the nest, every moment I was home seemed to revolve around the bird and its eggs.
I looked forward eagerly to see the eggs hatch.
Over the days that followed, I was amazed at the patience and dedication of the mother bird.
She would sit on the eggs, never moving.
However, if I should get within even a distance of about three yards or so, she would take flight and land high up somewhere nearby.
Even though it was April, winter was not completely over and surprisingly this year, we even had snow on some days.
I began to feel I should not disturb the mother who was trying to keep the eggs warm to hatch them.
With that in mind, I avoided entering my house through the side door and took to going in and out through the front door.
However, once inside, I could see the nest through the glass on my kitchen door.
One of my favorite things to do in the morning was to observe the bird through that door.
It was the picture of patience.
After a few days, thinking that the bird would have got used to seeing me park my car and go about what I had to do without disturbing it, I took a couple of steps forward towards it.
In a flash it flew off again like before!
So again, I resolved not to go anywhere near it.
I wanted the bird to hatch the eggs in peace.
After all, I could watch it through my kitchen door!
I wanted to provide some kind of a welcome atmosphere to make it feel comfortable but since it was flying off as soon as I approached, apparently it wanted to be left alone.
I did just that.
There were times when the mother bird would go away for brief moments, probably to find food.
I would take that opportunity to go closer and look into the nest.
The eggs seemed to show no sign of hatching.
They remained just as blue as ever.
I began to wonder.
Were these real eggs or were my eyes deceiving me?
In about a week or so, I found out the truth.
One day, when I looked at the nest from my kitchen, there were the unmistakable tips of beaks sticking out!
I could have jumped for joy!
Since the mother bird was not around, I went to have a closer look.
There were four very tiny birds, all snuggled very close to each other.
Scrawny and all fleshy and snuggled together as if to form one tight ball, they were the ugliest looking birds I had ever seen!
I knew though that soon they would turn into beautiful little robins!
It was a most exciting moment for me.
Over the next few days, I watched the birds grow gradually.
From almost lifeless-looking, they turned into little birds with gaunt long necks stretched out tight with their beaks wide open as though parched.
I wanted so very much to provide water or food, but had no idea how to go about doing it or even what food to provide.
The consolation was, there was plenty of greenery around and I knew the mother bird would not leave her offsprings starving.
I was right.
Sometimes I would see the mother perched on the edge of the nest, caring for her little ones.
Those were endearing moments, proving that man or beast or bird, a mother's love is unmatched.
I knew it was a matter of days before the little ones would take flight.
I would see them no more or even if I did, wouldn't be able to tell them apart from the many winged ones that fly around happily, looking just like them.
Soon, in about a week, I returned home to find the nest empty.
But my heart was not.
Among the many houses nearby, a robin had chosen my humble home to bring forth its young.
The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, which is spending time in nature without intrusive technical gadgets is most appealing for its preventative health benefits.
I did not have to resort to shinrin-yoku.
Without seeking it, this restorative element, I prefer to call it blessing, seemed to have been handed to me.
My heart felt full and my spirit, rejuvenated.