We’re 26 days into this whole marriage thing, and I’d say (from my perspective anyway) so far so good.
A bird flew into our home two evenings ago– right through our wide-open front door. We were in our kitchen, making dinner in the midst of a conversation that at the time seemed important but since has escaped me. (that’s not to say that it wasn’t important– just to say that things often escape me.) Both our front and back doors were open, as the evening was beautiful. I said to my husband “there’s a bird in here!” as it landed onto some bird-friendly surface high in our kitchen. He had missed the bird’s entrance and thought I was speaking metaphorically– he looked at me perplexed until the bird flew across the kitchen fluttering close to his head. (As he recounted it later, he used sound effects, rolling his tongue to mimick the sound of the flapping wings in close proximity to his ears).
Immediately he flew into crisis management mode– directing me to keep the cat out of the kitchen as he began trying to “catch” the bird (who flew to a new space each time he neared it). I went with the cat to have a conversation with her and let her know that birds are OUTSIDE toys while my husband continued to chase the bird. I’m just gonna say this for those of you who may not know– birds are HARD to catch. I closed the cat in another part of the house and went back into the kitchen to lend assistance and was immediately shooed away. I went back to keep the cat company behind a closed door.
I stood behind the door listening to my husband in the other room following the bird around and seemingly just missing each time he came near it. I imagined his big, strong hands, and the tiny bird one one hundredth of his size. I felt the terror of the tiny feathered creature, and I called out to him: “baby? can I help?” Instinctively he answered “no! stay where you are!” and then after a beat replied more thoughtfully, “well, sure.”
I opened the door and went into the living room where the bird had most recently landed– it was in a tiny little nook desperately trying to escape and hide. I started talking to the sweet winged creature. My husband stood in the doorway between the kitchen and the living room watching us. I let the bird know that it was okay to be scared– and agreed with it that our house was a really strange place to land. As I talked to it I cleared a little space around it and reached down and stroked its tiny body. It flew up and careened over to another part of our living room. I followed it again continuing to talk to it. I let it know it was safe and gently cupped my hands around it and picked it up. It’s tiny little head poked out between my thumbs. I felt its relief at being held and captive. I brought it to our rhododendron bush just outside our front door and opened my hands. It quickly fluttered away and out into the Portland evening.
I came back into the house and my husband smiled at me and gave me a high five. We reflected on our awesome teamwork. There was an assumed default of roles that we moved into when the bird flew into our house– and we quickly realized without conflict or chaos that we were ill-suited for those assumed roles. He began making fun of himself chasing after the bird and we both had a good laugh at our own expense.
I don’t know why that tiny winged creature flew into our home on Tuesday evening. Birds are considered by some to be a symbol of freedom and perspective. They are said to be a “messenger of the Gods” because they have the ability to move between the earth and the heavens. Science has proven that birds can see and feel magnetic fields, maybe our house has a particularly strong one. I don’t know the reason for our unexpected visitor, but I appreciate the perspective the tiny creature allowed us.
Our winged visitor was incredibly affirming of our partnership and our ability to be fluid with our roles in any situation. My husband’s immediate impulse to “defend” our home was perfect– as was mine– upon reflection to re-direct and help the tiny creature. He didn’t get mad at me for “stealing his thunder” and helping the bird, nor did I take it personally that his immediate reaction was to shoo me away and “handle the situation.” Had the bird been vicious and attacking (and you just never know) he would have been the man for the job. As it was, it was confused and scared and happy for a calming, friendly voice.
A bird in the house is not some huge test of our relationship but rather a lovely analogy for who we are and how we exist in our space together. As we move forward in our life as a married couple we are beginning to flesh out what our home is in this new paradigm. There is no doubt that we are greater than the sum of our parts. As we sift through the chaos of the wedding and build our space anew we allow an order and structure to unfold that did not exist before. Our partnership is in and of itself an entity more powerful than we are capable of imagining– with a magnetic force so strong it draws in tiny flying creatures.