Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Little Wing

Everything was bare when I landed. 

There were no leaves on the trees. No grass on the ground. There were no familiar faces around, save for my husband’s. There were no small streets, no pedestrians, running in and out of small shops, buying soaps or shampoo sachets or 500 gms of an ingredient missed on the grocery list the previous day. It was empty. Many might have called it a clean slate, a fresh start. I wasn’t so sure. While there was an entire lifetime to look forward to, there was nothing in my immediate future, the every day, that I was waiting for.

I wasn’t to wake up every morning and get ready for work; I had quit that while moving to this new country. I couldn’t even look forward to stepping out of the house, the explorer that I am; the weather was sub-zero and bitter and I wasn’t tolerating it very well…I wanted to curl up in a ball and hibernate till spring. I had no friends around to go meet in the evening and share a few laughs with. In fact, I couldn’t even drive, what with just having learned to drive and there being snow all around…so how could I go anywhere? The only reason I got out of bed in the morning was to make lunch since my husband comes home for lunch. His being home for that one hour or in the evening was the only thing I looked forward to. But once he was back at work post-lunch, I had a long insufferable afternoon all to myself with no work, no one to talk to and none of my favourite things around…just the television and junk food. No wonder I loaded up on pounds very quickly.

Things got a little better with summer coming around but a feeling of despair when my husband wasn’t home never went away. I kept thinking of the life and friends I used to have and just what a contrast life was in this new country. I was trying, maybe too hard, and failing to make peace with this complete isolation from everything I had known as my life before. Before long, it was winter again and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to cope with another one with the way I was feeling.

One day I noticed the patio of one of the apartments in our complex. It was filled with birds hopping on and off it. Sparrows, mostly.  I wondered if it was because the patio was located right above some shrubs that had managed to hold on to their green needles through the merciless winter. Were the residents putting out food for the birds? Just out of curiosity, I scattered some rice grains on our patio that day. No birds showed up. I had been wrong. And I was deeply disappointed. A small flutter of hope, the hope of having a similar patio filled with birds, had been nipped. I drew the blinds shut.

A solitary sparrow showed up the next day and pecked at the deck. I assumed it had just lost its way and landed up at our door, unexpectedly spotting some food. But more came the day after. At dusk we nearly had 20 sparrows hopping on our patio pecking at grains that we had strewn. I was giddy with happiness and couldn’t stop smiling!

I’ve never been a bird person; it was always furry animals for me…cute little mammals. But the amount of joy I derive from seeing the sparrows making their regular rounds for bird food is pleasantly surprising. Some days, there are boisterous Starlings that make a stop. On snowy days, even birds like the elegant Blue Jay and flaming-red Cardinal pay us a visit. My days don’t seem long or lonely now. All I have to do is look at the patio and see the sparrows happily hopping around. I cannot talk to them, I cannot touch them but somehow them just being there makes me feel happier and less lonely. What’s more, they have taken my despair away on their little wings, leaving me lighter, brighter and happier.

In the face of things that cannot be changed or controlled in life, sometimes just one thing…some thing…to wait for and look forward to brings hope and lets one carry on from one day to another. Sometimes, that thing is a few sparrows on the ledge…hopping happily and chirping as if to say…you’ll be okay!

This post was inspired by Lookup by Housing, enabling people to look up to a better life.

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