Friday, April 25, 2008
Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night
Well, it wasn't really singing!
Our very own, first little house in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago, had such a big yard and so many trees. It had been farmland that was gradually suburbanized, and many of the old elm trees had been left standing. Our little house started it's life as a four-room, built by owner. Nothing about it was really square or level. There were a couple of additions done over the years before we bought it. But it was what we could afford, and it was all ours! Maybe more about that another time. But, on to the topic at hand.
Linda and her sister shared a bedroom off the dining room. Next to that was the room of the three bears, er - the three boys. At the other end of the house was our bedroom. Since the sun came in the windows very early in the morning, we had them well-draped, so the room was fairly dark. It was rare that I slept past sunrise, but it did happen on the few weekend occasions that our five little ones played quietly upon arising. Since their rooms were at the opposite end of the house, occasionally I could sleep past their getting up. Usually, however, they announced early summer sun-up with delighted squeals, shouts, or other noises purposely designed to get motherly attention, not to mention breakfast.
Their Dad could be nearly as playful as his offspring. He had quite a little-boy penchant for mischief, and was not above playing pranks of one kind or another. One or the other of the children, sometimes all five, were usually the object of his attention, but he was definitely not above showing his devotion to me by sharing the wealth.
Once in a while on a weekend morning, Dad would get up early, and quietly closing the door behind him, see to the children's breakfast. On occasion, I would even be served breakfast in bed. This particular Sunday morning was dark with clouds left over from a downpour during the night. In other words, it was a perfect morning for sleeping late. He must have gotten up before dawn. The house was very quiet and I didn't even hear the stirrings of the children. What a treat! I snuggled down and continued whatever dream I was having.
You know how sometimes you awake very suddenly, and for no reason you can identify? Well, I don't know what it was, but I remember my eyes popping open, with a vague sense of something - I didn't know what - being not quite right. I didn't shift position. Only my eyes were looking around, trying to see what seemed to have caused the sense of unease I felt.
It was still very dark in the room with just a kind of gray light coming in around gaps between the drapes. Did I see something?
That got me really awake. I still didn't move, but I thought there seemed to be a vague, dark shape, maybe a small movement, above the window on the wall opposite the bed.
OMG! as the younger ones would say these days. I sure didn't want to turn on the bedside lamp, nor give any other indication that there was a living, though barely breathing, being under those blankets. I tried to focus my eyes in the dusky light so that I could see what that dark, shadowy "thing" was. A bat?? But how? My eyes playing tricks?
Well, I'd never heard a bat, much less seen one up close and personal, but I was pretty certain they didn't sound like that. Hmmm, was that some rustling I heard outside the closed bedroom door? Uh, huh! Something is definitely afoot. But, I'm not moving until I can get a better idea of what's going on and what my options are.
Slowly, I uncovered one hand just enough to reach the small flashlight on the night stand next to me. I pointed it downward and turned it on, trying not to let the little slider click. Then I gradually moved the light to focus on the "thing". And, holy "pallid bust of Pallas", the "thing" resolved itself into a very wet, very bedraggled rather largish black bird. It was perched, not above my chamber door, but on the pleats of the window drapes. Since those kept bending under it's weight, it was shifting from one foot to the other trying to stabilize its perch.
Of course, there could only be one culprit responsible for setting up this dastardly morning surprise. And he, no doubt along with some accomplices, was outside my chamber door. I suppose they were waiting to be rewarded with screams of fright. Or at least some indication that this little trick had gotten a response. Which they didn't get, by the way.
Evidently, a puppy had needed to be let out early, and just outside the back door, Dad had found this poor, wet, young crow. How could he possibly let such an opportunity pass? Well, he could have, but having a rather twisted, (in my opinion), sense of humor, he didn't.
Though we had rescued several little birds, among them our little Robbie, and the now-famous Chipper, this one was perfectly able to be rehabilitated to the great outdoors. Which happened very quickly. With great glee, Dad opened the door and retrieved the "raven".
"Were you scared?", the accomplices asked with anticipation.
"Not on your life!", I said.
(Darn. Moms aren't supposed to tell fibs.)