Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Feathered Sojourner in the Art Department

On Monday morning as I sat at work, absorbed in creating a shirt design, a sparrow flew into my office. Heralding her entrance with a couple of shrill trills and some very loud wing flapping, she landed on my film printer, then stared at me. I stared back at her then moved quickly to shut my office door.
 I had no idea of how she got this far. My office is at the back of the building and to reach me she had traveled through 2 production rooms and my outer office. I could only assume she'd flown into the shipping area on Friday afternoon and been here ever since. I closed the door, not wanting her to escape back out into production where we had little chance of luring her down from the tall ceilings.
 She flew about my little room, landing on every conceivable surface, peering down at me from my palette artwork, hopping across my desk, dropping behind my desk, swinging on handles from my bags, or skidding across my stack of film. Hopping from box to box, my string of lights, the window frames or the edges of the photos on my walls, she circled around, always in a clockwise direction. I sat down and let her be, thinking it would be a simple matter of acceptance and then I'd be able to catch her.
 I snaffled some of the fruit bread that the production staff had been munching for breakfast, sprinkled it under my spare desk and placed a plastic lid of water near the crumbs. She made a beeline for the food and devoured it. I turned off my electric radiator, not wanting to burn her little feet if she landed on it.
 I whistled and chatted to her as she hopped, flapped and circled around me. Not showing as much fear as I had expected, she seemed to listen but evaded every attempt to corner and catch her with a blanket. Learning quickly that she was safe in the space between my desk, bookshelf and the wall, she would bomb down there when tired, her little footsteps crunching and tapping on papers I'd lost down the back and never retrieved.
I had to give up at the end of the day, taping notices across both of my doors when I left, to prevent anyone entering. I turned off the lights so she would hopefully sleep until morning. The office was cold but although I had felt every degree drop as the afternoon wore on, I knew it was better for her to be cooler.
 The next morning, I opened my office door slowly and flicked the light switches. In response Miss Sparrow flew back and forth tweeting loudly, and I smiled at her, relieved to see she had lasted through the night and was obviously still in fine fettle. I chatted to her as I laid down some wild bird seed I'd brought from home, and pulled out my G15 camera, hoping to get some better shots than the iPhone images from the day before. I had brought the G15 because I could make the shutter silent, unlike on the Sony, which would scare her.
 She tucked into her food immediately and took a long draft of water while I tried to think how I could capture her. I brought in a cardboard box and scattered food inside, hoping she would hop in, so I could then close up the box flap with my foot. But she wasn't daft. She moved far too quickly for me to respond and fed while watching me out of the corner of her eye.
She was quite relaxed in my company and often stopped for a quick preen and spruce up, pulling some pale grey soft weathers loose from beneath her wings. I was getting anxious about her spending another night in the office, she needed to be back with her peers where she belonged.
This was the last photo I took of her. That expression was saying, "You're going to catch me soon, aren't you?" And she was right. Billy, a work colleague, came in to help and had the blanket over her quickly after I'd sent her in his direction. I gently circled my hand around her body, and we walked toward the outside door in the sales office. She didn't struggle, and looked very briefly at me as I opened my hand, cradling her in my palm. After a split second of stillness she recognized the huge outdoors and flew up, up, up over the tall pine tree to the sky. She was out of sight within two seconds, but I stood a little longer, silently wishing her well. But she did have a full belly of seed to start her on her day, and now I could turn that heater back on in my office!

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