My mother, the sparrow
Ok, you’re going to have to suspend some disbelief here, but it’s a good story…
About a year ago, a young male house sparrow started coming to our window and parking himself on the sill for hours at a time. Eventually he began to peck when he landed, seeming to announce his arrival. At first we thought he was pecking at his own reflection, but we recognized over time that he was watching our movements carefully.
My husband and I joked about how he must be a human spirit in a bird body, and I remembered an experience that occurred shortly after my mother passed away almost eight years ago. I was visiting in Sedona, before we moved here full-time and I had an appointment with an energy healer. I was feeling depressed and still in shock and thought that a healer might be able to help.
We were talking in her reception area before we went in to work on her table and she was sitting across from me. Suddenly she looked to my left side and said, ”Your mother is standing next to you and wants me to tell you that she’s here.” I swung my head to the left, not seeing anything, but feeling comforted.
She went on, “your mother is so tiny! I want to call her Sparrow Woman.” I laughed because I’m small but I was still taller than my mother and was proud of that fact.
Fast forward to our little house sparrow. “Is that you, Mom?” I wonder, remembering the (unfortunately awful) 1960’s sitcom, “My Mother, the Car”. Since no one can see us clearly inside our house, we figure we have nothing to lose and have begun to interact with our bird/Mom. We chirp back when he chirps, hop when he hops and dance and sing for his entertainment. I have no idea what we’re saying to each other. The only things we haven’t done are feed him or attempt to approach him outside.
He knows our schedule now and waits in an upper window where he can see our bedroom door open in the morning. He comes to a lower window to watch us making breakfast. The latest development is he has started to bring his mate.
At the risk of anthropomorphizing, I could swear that she is having trouble with their relationship. She waits, often impatiently, in “their” bush when he is visiting, chirping madly when he’s been here too long. Yes, she will sit beside him for short periods of time but doesn’t appear to find us as fascinating as he does.
So what, exactly, is happening here? Is Mom continuing our relationship? Are we doing ground-breaking work in interspecies communication?
We’ve named him Conrad Birdie after the character in the musical, “Bye, Bye Birdie”. Now that his wife joins us occasionally, we’ve thought about naming her, too. But I’m starting to worry a bit – if they have babies this spring, are we going to end up with an entire row of sparrows on our window sill?
And what does it all mean?
Living in Sedona, the so-called “woo woo” (New Age) capital of the world, it’s easy to believe that we’re letting our imaginations run away with us. But the truth is – something is happening. Friends have suggested that Conrad was somehow imprinted early-on by people, but the question still remains – why did he select US and OUR house as the place to station himself, returning again and again after days or even weeks away? Why does he get so excited when we perform for him? How did we all figure out to hop sideways at the same time?
I could even understand this better if we were dealing with a raven, or some bird that has a history of intelligent interaction with people. But a house sparrow?
One amazing outcome of this experience for me is that I’m learning to be OK with not knowing. I’m conscious of being in a state of “wonderment” and that’s an interesting place to be. Although my rational mind continues to want answers, my spiritual self knows that it’s all fine the way it is. And of course, I never will know the whole story in this lifetime, so why not roll with it?
It strikes me that this lesson has many applications. While I love to understand the reasons why things happen, so much of life is a mystery. How much better it is to be open to all possibilities and not manufacture concepts that divide experiences into black and white. The more I trust the Big Picture, the less need I have to compartmentalize.
Right now Conrad is perched in the corner of our den window, puffed in a ball to protect himself from the wind. I can sit in the chair closest to him and enjoy the fact that this tiny wild animal has chosen to make himself part of our lives. I have no expectations, just gratitude for being able to share this little corner of the world together.