By Carol BobleyOur short trip was over. We arrived a bit travel-worn at our front door, anticipating a warm, tranquil evening by the fire, sipping white wine in crystal goblets with succulent poached salmon for dinner – a time to muse over the day’s happenings and to relax.
Laden with groceries and a small suitcase, I was the first to enter the kitchen. As my eyes were adjusting to the darkness of the unlit room, I was startled by a sudden rustling and then a terrifying, flapping and banging. In one surreal moment, I saw shards of glass all over the floor and before I could make sense out of what was happening, the metal napkin holder on our kitchen table went flying to the other side of the room! I was so stunned, that for a second I couldn’t focus.
Was my mind playing tricks on me? Had I interrupted an intruder in the midst of a burglary?
As I turned to my right, I saw a huge ruffed grouse, its wings outstretched in panic mode. As if I wasn’t. We glared at each other with expressions of mutual hate and fear.
He sprang into action and flew toward the window above the sink. Instinctively, I dropped my packages and ran to the pantry to get a “weapon of choice.” I warily extended a broom in his direction, hoping he would perch on it so that I could calmly carry him outdoors on it. But, I had no such luck.
And so began what I feared could become a Sisyphean battle. I ran frantically after him, but he fluttered and dodged me helter-skelter. I opened the basement door, and he flew downstairs, knocking down cans and packages from the shelves that line the stairway.
At least he was on the bottom level. Bobleys don’t allow bird-brains on the main floor.
Oh no! Something else to make my blood boil! There were big, white, messy, sticky bird droppings all over the floors: the great room, the kitchen, all three of the main floor bedrooms – even in the bathtubs. Yuck!
I gingerly walked in between these droppings, making me strangely nostalgic for the good old days when my friends and I would play “Don’t step on the crack or you’ll break your mother’s back.”
And then came the pièce de résistance…. I now became aware of icy cold torrents of air wafting past me from another part of the house. Following this cold air stream to my son’s bedroom, I found a double-paned Andersen window smashed into bits. The window handle was lying on the floor beside the broken screen, and pieces of glass were strewn like little bad-luck charms all over the floor, the bed, the pillows, and the woolen blankets. Adding insult to injury, bird droppings completed the picture like a Jackson Pollock.
Miraculous as it was that the grouse did not break his neck when he hit the window in the first place, he did eventually fly to freedom by making his way from the basement workroom to the oil burner room and then out through the attached garage, whose doors I had opened for the purpose.
The incident is over, but I still find myself occasionally peering defensively out my kitchen window, half expecting the flying menace to be plotting his next move.
Being a retired English teacher, I have always thought that a fictional crisis is the only one I can acceptably handle – but I’ve proved myself wrong. Now I feel fully prepared for my next close encounter of the bird kind. ~
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