I didn't even know dust could accumulate on vertical glass. I mean I am well aware of the dust that lands for a week or so on the horizontal furniture and the tops of picture frames. I even know the permanent dust that lives on top of the entertainment center, visible only from the stairs. But who knew dust sticks to a sliding glass door? I noticed it just the other day, on the outside. What got my attention actually, were the places on the glass where the dust had been brushed away. Very specific patterns, kind of like someone had taken a feather and painted or unpainted the dust in whispy designs. I hadn't seen it before and par for my course, I was curious. I stood examining the glass like a crime scene investigator. What on earth would create such marks and when? Who on earth would care? Me.
A more balanced person would have gone back inside to continue with some profitable task, like laundry. But not me, I just needed to know. I'm just like that. No one in my family would have expected me to come inside until I had it figured out. They know me too well. So there I stood, one arm crossing my front and supporting the other elbow, which propped up the forearm to the hand that props the chin and the finger that taps the side of my mouth while I think. This is the preferable thinking position at my age. (After 40, its best to avoid the furrowed brow position, as that one tends to stick in a permanent forrow called wrinkles). The longer I stood there, searching the position and pattern of the dust designs the more curious I got. If they were in just one horizontal plane or another, that would help. I have family in the 5'6" , 6' and 6'4" planes, so that could have narrowed down the who anyway. But these marks were all over the full width and height of glass. Like something had purposely decorated every quadrant and corner of it, with a ........ feather.... Ah ha! That's it! Bob. It's got to be Bob, the bird.
We met Bob last spring. Well, I guess we came to know Bob. I don't think he ever actually got to know us, but we were very familiar with him. He came into our lives with a bang! Literally, a bang, as he hit the large sliding glass door that faces the backyard. The first time he did it we thought he accidently flew into the glass. Bang! It didn't sound like he slowed down at all and infact when he fell to the patio floor, I thought we might just have to do a little bird CPR. My paramedic husband would have cried "fowl" I'm sure. I felt embarrassed for him and wanted to act like I didn't notice his foolishness, so he could just get up and fly on. I figured he was just swooping and gliding and climbing and diving all over the back yard. Dodging tree limbs and the swing, rounding bushes and weaving in and out of each of the patio posts and probably just closed his eyes in the bliss of it...I mean I would have closed my eyes just to intensify the feel of all that swooping and gliding. So then, with his eyes closed... BANG! And I tried to let him get up and on without being humiliated. But then it started. The mystery of Bob. He just got up again and jumped against the glass. And jumped against the glass. And continued flying up and against the glass, to the left against the glass, to the right against the glass, down, up, up higher, down again, hitting his wings and head and the rest of him over and over again. I think he carried on until he was exhausted. There was a purposefulness to it. His whole heart was in it. We sat and watched. Ok, mostly I sat and watched. But I just needed to understand why he might be doing that, risking his bird body and the humiliation. I'm just like that. So began my finger tapping. Tap, tap, tap. Bang! Bang! Bang! This went on all spring and summer. Him banging and me tapping.
What was he trying to get at? What did he think he was seeing? I don't think it was his own reflection, or he would have just bumped into the glass right where he would stand. No, he was seeing something beyond the glass he thought was worth all the trouble and headache (literally). Directly inside the window was our oak table and chairs. Perhaps with all the wood legs he was seeing a forest or trees. Just beyond that on some shelves was a wood birdhouse I purchased at a craft fair. Was he shopping for a new place in the country? I moved the birdhouse out of view just in case. No change. I kind of wanted to open the door and let him in, just to see where he would go, what he was so set on. But inside the house is not the place for a bird. Flying and ceilings and walls just don't go together. It's the complete opposite of freedom for a bird. We know. We've had a few accidently fly inside. I just wanted to sweetly say, "Bob, just turn around and look at the whole beautiful "perfect-for-a-bird" world that is behind you. Unlimited sky, millions of trees to stop on and the rest of the bird choir to sing with. Your world is perfect for you, just turn around and see it!" So that's how the spring and summer went. Bob did lots of bumping and I did lots of thoughtful tapping. So it's spring again this year and just about the time we starting wondering about Bob, he showed up. But not alone. He brought a friend. A girl I'm sure. So at least we know who's been warming Bob's nest over the winter months. The two of them stood together in front of the glass door and Bob spent one day flying and bumping into the glass again. Interestingly, his friend didn't join in. I sat nearby watching and smiling at his efforts to impress her. He tried every angle again, high, low, left, right and then they were gone. Perhaps, he finally turned around. Maybe he just needed a friend to speak some truth to him. Maybe he spent the winter telling her about this great place he found last spring. Around the bird nest, over dinner, he would tell her about it, how he found it, what it looked like and his plans to return again and finally get inside. Maybe she encouraged him, or maybe she cautioned him. He probably promised to take her there when the time and weather was right. Maybe it sounded too good to be true or a little fishy, that something that appeared so wonderful, was impossible to get to. Maybe she knew what he didn't. Bird territory is free and open, without boundaries and with few predators. Maybe she knew God gives birds everything they need and want without banging their heads against a wall. Maybe she knew that he was the type that would more likely pursue the thing just out of reach, rather than turn around to see all that was wonderful in his world. Maybe I thought so much about Bob, because I related to his struggle. Maybe I have spent way too much time banging my head against a glass door, because I thougt I saw something on the otherside I wanted. Maybe I remember trying this angle and that, and until I was bloody with the battle in wanting something God has said no to. Maybe what Bob and I think would be preferable, God knows would be captivity. Maybe Bob and I both have needed to bring a loved one along to tell us what we are really looking at, rather than what we have been seeing. Maybe we both just need to turn around and look to the freedom in God's "No" and thank him for knowing what's best even when it's disappointing or painful. Maybe, God knows Bob would fly and bump and bang, and I'd watch and tap and think. I can't help it, I'm just like that.