The Sky in the Glass
By Elece Hollis

If you know me, you know how I love birds. I love to watch them flying, feeding, nesting. I love the way they move in communities like sparrows, ducks, seagulls, and cardinals, or individually—territorially, like hummingbirds, mockingbirds, and Blue Jays.

I am intrigued by their variety, their colors, their designs, theirs shapes, sizes, and camouflage. Their movements: the “V” of geese, the swirls of brown-headed cowbirds, the dainty flutter of goldfinches, and the dive of a Red-tailed hawk amaze me. The soundless swoop of the Great Horned Owl, the strut of a meadowlark, swagger of crows, the hop-hop-hop of the robin interest me.

I have been startled as I stood watching out a window when a hapless bird flew into it with a thump—a bump that it seemed it would kill the poor little bird. I have seen birds lying still and almost dead, and then beginning to breathe once more; start up and fly again.

Last fall, I had a problem with a bird flying at my window repeatedly—purposefully again and again. He was just knocking himself loopy—self-destructively. He seemed to be bent on getting through that window. Maybe he saw his own reflection and thought it was another bird he had to ward off—who knows?

I am like those birds some times, like the first one only, I hope, who flies at the glass thinking it is open sky. I brain myself on the reflection—hard and cold. I rest awhile and then get up and shake it off—fly again, wiser, watching to see I am not fooled another time.

As a wife and mom there are days like that, usually when I am nonchalant and cheery—zipping along here and there with abandon. I forget to check things out with God, to stop and pray about my situation. I forget to ask for direction. I go flying with my eye on myself. I get fooled and fly—“thump,” at my own reflection.

I don’t want to be stubborn and refusing to learn, like the other bird who spent days battering himself—fighting an enemy who turned out to be only himself.

I must never give up flying for fear of mistakes either. There is wide open sky out there—vast expanses of clear safe sky. A few lumps shouldn’t keep me from picking up and taking off again. I can’t let them.

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