The Sparrows' Nest

Jesus Deytiquez

© Copyright 2018 by Jesus Deytiquez


Photo of entrance to man-made cave under the old church.

This is a story about how I met the sparrows and their nest, and how I learned and remembered several precious lessons of life from them.

Every writer has a favorite spot: a place to write his or her stories, poems, or articles; a place where he or she somehow can gather more inspiration, or where words seem to just flow out of his or her being. My favorite writing place is the old and unused kitchen table where I can see the lonely street, the trees, the vast rice fields, the tall transmission towers, and even the far away clumps of trees and blue mountain ranges covering the horizon.

The large and brown wooden table covered with tempered glass where I write is cluttered with many books, papers, pencils, and other curious stuffs. My mother always tries to bring order and cleanliness to my workplace, but after she cleaned it, the prior chaos will just return hastily no matter how hard I try to avoid bringing it back. But that table is my nest, and many eggs of thought and imagination was incubated and hatched there.

One summer afternoon, while I was working on a short story, I noticed two sparrows that were perched on the white railings of my window. They were noisily chirping at me. They would fly away and then return every now and then, but always, they were chirping at me loudly. And I then saw that they both have something in their mouths. I remembered the hays and feathers that were cluttered near the window, and the square hole in the ceiling directly above such mess. I then understood that they were parent birds and their nest was in that square hole. (The sparrows of our hometown always find their home in my house, especially in the attic or in that square hole in the ceiling.) They were chirping at me because they cannot feed their hatchlings if I am there.

But I was too busy writing my short story, and I need to finish it before the impending deadline for its submission. I lingered a little while in my favorite place, but at length, left it to allow the sparrows to feed their little ones. But before I left, I said to them, as if they can understand me, that they can already fly back to their nest. As soon as I walked away from that spot of my house, I went to the garage where I can see from a distance the two sparrows that was perched on my window. I saw that, after some moments of hesitation, they finally went inside and flew inside that hole in the ceiling. I did not return to my working place until it was already dark. I know that they would not be able to feed their little ones during the night, so I allowed them to feed them as much as they can.

During daytime, I would seldom be in my workplace especially during noon. This lessened my time to work on my stories, but I made the most out of my time during the freshness of the morning, during twilight, and during nighttime. And this cycle of give and take went on for some time until one particular day.

Another one late afternoon, I went to my workplace and find two hatchlings lying on the floor. I saw that one of them was already dead and was being surrounded by ants. I tried to bring the other one back to their nest. I searched for a nice and strong piece of paper to carry it. I did this to prevent my scent from contaminating the little bird’s scent, because if I returned it to its nest while bearing my scent, their parents will no longer visit that nest, and thus, it, and its possible remaining siblings, will starve to death; as a child I committed such mistake of using my own hands to return fallen little birds to their nests, not knowing that there is a better way. I poked it to find out if it was still alive, but it did not move. It was already dead. The two parent birds arrived, and, finding me there with their dead little ones, started chirping violently (and even mournfully I think).

I carried the both of them with the same paper that I grabbed to bring back the other little bird to its nest. I buried them underneath the pile of dead leaves beside an Annatto tree in front of my house. I did such thing in order for their deaths to bring something good to other living creatures. If all things remain equal, their dead bodies will nourish the tree that nourishes other creatures like their parents in one way or another.

I was somehow angry with their parents for building a nest in such a place where their little ones can fall and die, but at length I understood why they chose such place: that place is safe from predators like cats and rats. Cats and rats may be able to climb roofs or attics, but they cannot reach a nest that can only be entered through flying.

A day after the death of those two little birds, their sibling or siblings (I am not quite sure how many little birds still remain in that nest) started to chirp. That nest was silent before probably because the little birds were too young or weak back then, or were always full. But as what I said earlier, the remaining bird, or birds, started to chirp every now and then.

Because of my encounter with such sparrows, I saw how we can also learn from birds. There are times that we judge a person or another creature that what he, or she, or it, was doing was foolish or in vain. But if we take time to stop our pride and prejudice from talking, and listen to what Wisdom wants to tell us, and take time to understand Her, we might see that what we saw as a foolish act or even an act that cannot bring any good, can really be an act that will bring more good than we can ever think of. We can learn from the concept of the Butterfly effect, or the idea that the little wind that is created by a tiny butterfly’s wings, might later on become a tornado in some other place and time. Acts of hate might become massive evil through time, but I also believe that little acts of love shall also become grand goodness in the end. And I know and remembered, because of that encounter, that nothing is ever in vain. How wonderful to think, that all of these insights, is from a humble nest of sparrows.

Jesus C. Deytiquez is a graduate student of De La Salle University Manila, Philippines (MA in Language and Literature). He is now striving to see his beloved again.

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