Monday, September 8, 2008
The Parabolic Parakeet
I sat with my Bible in my lap, a cup of tea at my elbow, and an ache in my tooth. An errant popcorn hull, hastily consumed during an action-packed DVD, has left me wishing I would have stuck to the more sedate snack options, like cheese. Later today the misery should be alleviated, but in that moment I found it hard to concentrate. I sipped tea, read and re-read the verses that swam before my eyes, and sulked.
"Squawk!! Screech! Screech! Squawk!!"
"Colonel, please!" I admonished
"Warble, chirp, chirp, SQUAWK!" he replied.
Now, I must elucidate here regarding our little budgie buddy. Colonel Fitzwilliam came to reside here at Wisteria Cottage over my objections, but due to my husband's pleadings. Our previous parakeet, Beatrice -- named after Shakespeare's tart-tongued gal, a very fitting name for that nippy bird -- had passed away fairly recently. Having reached the point of exhaustion due to all the pets and their respective needs over the years, I wished to welcome no others just then. We have reared MANY cats, a puppy, an OLD dog (lasted but two weeks around here before she begged to go to an older folk's home) , rabbits, mice, and hamsterS. (Yes that adorable little fluff ball was "with litter" and got that way soon after delivering the first set -- can you say "science project?") I implored Gary to allow me to enjoy a seed-free keeping room.
He begged to rescue this little parakeet from the horde of birds awaiting selection as Christmas gifts. "He was hovering right in front of me, how could I resist him? He wanted OUT of that madhouse!"
He brought home the feathered charmer. When that little birdie came out of the birdie box I smiled. I fell head over heels for the little critter. He was adorable. His green coat all striped and properly military in appearance prompted Lydia to christen him "Colonel Fitzwilliam" after Miss Austen's endearing character. I sweep seeds every day ... with a smile.
So, getting back to my aching tooth and the twittering bird ...
I could barely concentrate with the noise. I glared over at the feathered menace and found him fluffed up in a snit. A feather had fallen into his water dish. Clearly this bothered him. He repeatedly dipped into the dish and came up flinging water and sputtering, but without success. He would leap from the dish to the bar, run over and attack his cuttle bone furiously -- a real Rocky Balboa in action -- then hop back to the water dish and give it another try. Sometimes the feather would hang teasingly from his beak before falling; other times it would cling to the side of the water-flecked dish before slowly sliding back into the water. Frustration gripped the bird as he fluttered, flew, squawked, and sulked.
As I watched I took note of the beauty of his fully fluffed feathers. How grandly erect he stood as he indignantly admonished the floating feather. How strongly he took the cuttle bone to task. Lastly, I noted that the continual splashing and dunking he engaged in as he pursued the irritant effected a primping and preening of his coat. He looked grand and gorgeous. At one point he fell into the water dish and simply gave in to bathe instead of battle. He emerged from the dunking, flew to the perch and sang out in warbles of delight. Failing to remove the thorn from his side, he rejoiced instead at the benefits he gained in the process of trying.
Many moments passed, yet I sat transfixed. Though too distracted to read my scriptures today, I still manged to glean a parable from the antics of my birdie friend. Of late I have muddled over some pain and pressure (not unlike the tooth situation) that, while clearly of my own doing, hurts nonetheless and has thus far evaded solution. I relentlessly attack the offending item and yet success eludes me. Could it be that I, like Colonel Fitzwilliam, will reap unexpected gains from this experience while never actually removing the thorn?
I believe I will steep another pot of tea and ponder that for a while.