Fledglings And Us

When I looked at them, they struck me as spellbound. For long hours, they would sit beside the pine tree in the corner of the yard, wearing the guise of the uninitiated. Big eyes. Tender feet. Trepidation when flying was proposed. You mean now?

The fledglings were brother and sister, or brother and brother, or sister and sister. (Please–I’m no expert on birds, let alone mourning doves!) And they looked, for all the world, as if they weren’t quite sure about this place. Not, I mean, about their former nest or our backyard but about the whoooooooole thing.

When they landed on a tree branch or a fence or a wall (do not mention an old telephone wire!), they appeared surprised. Did their socks just get knocked off? Had they held onto their seatbelt? What did it feel like to yo-yo so?

They are, of course, versions of our younger selves. And while I appreciate their ability to grow and, in virtue of growing, learn how to navigate through the world, I’m saddened by their loss of feeling spellbound. When, for them, did the world start to feel too familiar? When did it lose its mysterious cast and sheen and become a tired old simple abode?

For their loss is akin to ours, though ours feels more thoroughgoing. Early on, we forget the great mystery and the especial horror and subsequently, consequently fall into the rut of automaticity. And there we may remain.

After many years, though, an existential opening may leap up into us, splitting us open while grabbing our throats. If it does, how fortunate are we to realize that the religious or spiritual quest is only beginning.

The feeling of being spellbound is what, always, we must remember for, as we wind and wend our way backward, this sense just may bring us back to the source. The source is home.