Ancient History

Follow Me?



The sidewalks burned from dawn to dawn, but I had to walk them.

I was overdue with our first baby. Each morning my husband and I walked the north and south sidewalks along Main Street, Grand Junction, Colorado. It was early July and our valley had succumbed to its annual dry fever. We walked each morning, becoming familiar with the store owners, other walkers, and the handsome blueberry-lemon muffins sold at the Crystal Cafe.

My feet hurt. My back hurt. I waddled and no longer cared I spent every day in a denim tent once advertised as a dress. It was the only thing that fit. My wedding rings were on a gold chain around my neck, too small for my fingers. We held hands. I imagine we talked about baby names, my feet, what to have for lunch, the possibility of buying a muffin to share 75/25, my feet, when’sshegonnabehere?, how close I was to crying, my feet, and whoa—look at this.

One morning, on the south side of Main, a baby bird dropped out of the sky directly in front of our path.

The brown fuzzy bundle of feathers and angles peeped. We looked up to see where the bird came from. Nothing above us but blue sky. The bird seemed to come from everywhere. Did it fall off the two-story building? Did it try to fly from a nearby tree? The three of us considered each other for a moment, until it began to walk. We followed.

wingsThe bird found the open door of Hart’s music store. An employee greeted us. We pointed out the bird and he was delighted. The three of us watched the bird rock back and forth on toothpick legs. Under pianos, around a drum set, along a wall of golden horns and back outside—we followed.

The question changed from where did it come from? to what do we do now? We felt responsible for the bird, which was peeping constantly. The sidewalk was dangerous, the street was a hazard, and we couldn’t walk away without knowing the bird had a safe place to call for its mother. My husband scooped up the bird and put it in a nearby cement planter, about four feet off the ground. It was shaded and there were green places to hide. We walked away.

Nearly nine years later, I still think about that bird. It took my mind off how miserable I felt. For a moment I focused on the small, the fragile, and the weak which peeped so loud we had to obey it’s plea: protect me.

Coming from inside me was another plea. Hang in there mommy. You are protecting me. Where you go, I go. Be patient. Can I have some blueberry-lemon muffin?

As I consider the long summer ahead, I get overwhelmed. September seems so far away. The kids will be back in school before our new baby is born. Time promises to flow slow and hot. The days will be similar in their tone. My feet will hurt. But a baby bird can cast a shadow almost a decade long stretching over a mountain range, bouncing over all my other hugely pregnant tummies. I see it, even now.

You protected me.

Keep me as the apple of Your eye; Hide me under the shadow of Your wings. Psalm 17:8.

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