Three Little Birds

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I am watching an Andy Griffith marathon with Jeff, my kids, and my in-laws. Everybody loves it, except for Cole, who has just spent two weeks reading the ancient Romans and living in a dorm and well, Andy Griffith ain’t that deep. The rest of us find it charming. Even my Mother-in-law can follow it, despite her Alzheimer’s. She looks over at me periodically and says, “They’re crazy!” with a grin. It reminds me of her, the her that I miss, and I’m glad Andy has brought that back, momentarily.

Andy Griffith just died in real life, but he is young and alive here. His hair is unbelievably thick. Ron Howard is an adorable kid, and he has accidentally killed a Mama bird with his slingshot, so he decides to feed its babies. There are three of them. You know what happens: the birds thrive, there’s a moment of regret over letting them leave the nest, and everyone is proud and happy at the end because the right thing has been done.

After the show, we go to the porch, where Art wants us to help him get down an old birds’ nest. Cole gets a ladder, pokes at it with a long stick. It is in the eaves and will make a mess of sticks and bird shit if we leave it there.

Birds’ eggs hatch in the spring, don’t they, not in the late summer heat? We agree that it is fine to take it down. Still, I think I see a little head poke up. Not a peep, though. It’s feathers, Jeff says. Only feathers.

Cole knocks the nest down and of course, there are three baby birds in it. They survive the fall. Still, they don’t make a sound. Surely, there is something wrong with them. Jeff scoops up the nest, forms it back into a circle with his hands, and perches the baby birds back where they were. We wonder where their mother is. And in this town, which is smaller than Mayberry, we want it all to come full circle, to be made right, but the life we miss can only come back for a minute.

When Opie releases the birds, a perfect swoop to the sky, every one, Andy says, “Isn’t it nice to have the trees full again?” That is all we want.


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