you know those moments when something sparks—a song on the radio, maybe, or just the way the light is falling on the mountain, or a text or a sound or a random scent—and suddenly you're crying over whatever the spark shattered in you? And then you're crying over everything—the thing your daughter said, the lingering tension from a cold shoulder, the bill you're stressing over—and thinking maybe you shouldn't be driving because you're crying too hard but you really want to get home so you blink furiously and put on your sunglasses and make it home only to collapse in a weepy puddle in the front room?
Life and its troubles seemed like too much there, for a moment. An ugly moment.
The loud and persistent and startlingly spring-like sound of birds got me off of the floor. Birds! in February, on the coldest, driest day I can remember besides yesterday. I wandered to windows, trying to track which tree they were in, and found them out my kitchen window, in my apple tree. A whole flock of birds, fifty at least. Fat little birds with white feet and bodies that looked black in the shade but turned glossy and limned by rainbow in the sunlight. They chirped and flicked and clicked their beaks together, fighting over the lingering apples. The sound they made was pure joy. My tree a happy oasis in their flight to where ever.
And nothing changed. I still have that thing my daughter said; there is still a cold shoulder and the bill I don't know what to do with. My world still seems impossible. But, somehow, possible at the same time. Being a witness to this feasting by birds brought me redemption, of a sort. It made the ache slow down. They spoke their small, bright bird vowels, they fluttered each other off of apples; as a group at some sound I couldn't hear they stopped in fright, utterly silent and then, at some clue I didn't recognize, they moved again. And I, in my own fright and silence, began to move again, too.