The quick tour of Caitlin’s new apartment suddenly went awry: When we walked into the living room, there it was, something flying, something — a giant moth? A bird? A crazy tiny bird? A humming bird, buzzing against the ceiling, and shooting along it from one side of the room to the other.
Neither of us had a plan beyond: get a broom. (That’s my default plan whenever there’s a critter — mouse, bat, etc.) Caitlin found me a broom; she wielded a string mop. Back in the living room, we swatted near it with our respective cleaning implements, like we could encourage it to fly the opposite direction. Turns out, it could be herded, but not controlled… it would fly away from the broom only to dart around it — screw you, humans! Whirrr, whirrr, whirrrrr… finally in a stroke of insane luck, it stopped flying and landed on the bristles of the broom, just for a moment, before taking off again. We knew what we had to do.
We spent the next hour trying to get the bird to land again on the broom long enough to slide it out the open window, the way you’d slide a pizza into an oven on those long paddles. When it landed, I held my breath and began lowering it slowly, the slowest I’ve ever moved, so slow that it was hard not to laugh at the sky-high tension. But it worked, and in went the bird, through the open window. Problematically, the living room opened not to the outside but to an enclosed sunroom, with its own set of windows. And so, hour two was spent in the sunroom, with a mop and a broom, with our silent pleas and louder running commentary: Come on, just trust us! Let’s go! Slow down, out the window, please little bird we don’t want to hurt you!
(Not that I could have really hurt its tiny whirring frame, no way. I can barely kill a roach let alone a hummingbird.)
We had many, many false starts. It landed on the broom only to take flight a moment later — screw you, humans! I could feel our energy flagging. How much longer? All day? We had stuff to do, places to be! Finally it landed on the bristles of the broom, so light that I couldn’t feel its weight at all. I slowly lowered the broom, smooth as I could, and found the beginning of a forgotten prayer float to the top of my brain. Our father who art…
The bird stayed long enough on the slow-moving broom that it reached the open part of the window, and phfoom! It was gone.
After I said goodbye to Caitlin, I drove home and started to think about how scared the bird must have been. How impossible an exit must have seemed. I could relate. We are all stuck in our strange enclosed rooms, flying at the wrong places, frantic and darting around. Relax. Land on the broom. The open window is right there.
Previously, in surreal bird news: