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It was just before dawn in April of this year when I heard it for the first time.


I looked around in my darkened kitchen for the source, but my kids were padding downstairs hungry and already full of questions and dream remnants, so I ignored the sound and got back to breakfast and answers.

Toast, eggs, oatmeal, and yogurt.

Yes, you can go to your friend’s house for an hour after school.

No, you may not wear your soccer cleats to class for show and tell.


It was my son who spotted it first. “Is that a bird?”

“Why’s he doing that?” my daughter asked.

I followed their wide eyes to the high window above the living room and outside the window there he was ... a small, unassuming, brown bird. Despite his size, he was clacking his beak into the glass with such intensity I was sure he’d crack the pane.

“I don’t know honey …”

We all watched his bizarre practice with interest until my husband entered the room. “What are you coconuts doing? Can we let nature be nature and get back to our breakfast, please?” We smiled, laughed, and did just that. And let nature be nature.


I came home later in the afternoon after a day of work and sat my things down in the foyer. I rubbed my temples and went straight to the kitchen for some tea. Just as the pot started to brew, waves of steam escaping from the spout -


The sound was so loud in the quiet house, I jumped. I turned and there was the hearty little bird, undeterred from the hours between the morning and now. I walked closer, into the living room and watched in wonder. He or perhaps she… yes, I think she was puffing her chest.


Only then did I notice the damage; the high window was covered in scuffs and scratch marks. Hundreds of them. I suddenly went from curious to mad. That little bird was destroying my window! I shouted, waved, shooed, and even flung a pillow at the window, but she ignored me and pecked away, fully-committed to her cause, as if in some birdie trance.

Over the next three days, all day, every day the bird persisted.


My son made jokes about it. My daughter named her and asked why we couldn’t just let her in, and my husband complained and plotted ways to end the tiny avian. I was close to joining him. I walked way out near the side of the deck ... Maybe we could have the kids make a scarecrow ... and then I saw the bird from a different perspective and had an epiphany. From the side and in the full sun, I could see the bird wasn’t dead set on killing our house or getting inside, but was threatened by its reflection. While we saw a little devil with wings, she saw the same thing staring back at her.

“Maybe I could throw my nerf ball at her, that’d scare her away,” my son volunteered.

I followed my thought, “No, honey. Isn’t she brave?”

“Huh?” he gave me a look like I’d finally lost my marbles, and admittedly at times in the past, I’ve probably come close.

“She doesn’t see herself but another threatening bird. She doesn’t know what a reflection is so she can’t tell the difference.”

“So she thinks another bird is in her territory?” he asked.

“And probably threatening her nest nearby. Knowing danger was around she didn’t back away or hide, she confronted her fear and when it couldn’t be defeated, she didn’t give up, did she?”

“Definitely not,” my daughter chimed in covering her ears.

I smiled, “What’d she do?”

“She bravely showed up each morning to do battle from dawn til dusk! Knowing no weariness in the face of her enemy and certain death!” my son shouted while grabbing a pillow as a makeshift weapon and starting an epic battle with his sister. But before I could say anything to him, I realized, he was right … albeit a little on the dramatic side.

The little mother bird was the definition of persistence. She attacked all day to protect her goals and chirping dreams. She pecked the whole day and into the night - day after exhausting day - against a foe that didn’t seem to tire or have a weakness, and even then, it would take outside forces for her to abandon the fight.

The fight for what mattered most to her.

I shook my head, took a deep breath, and closed my eyes - focusing on my inhalation as we do in yoga - and then I reopened them. I saw the same scene, but with different eyes. Heard the same sounds, but with different ears. Now each puff of her chest was a brave posture of persistence, each mark on the glass a testament to her fight, and each

TAP! TAP! TAP! TAP! was a reminder in a different language saying:

What would you fight for in your life?

How hard are you willing to fight for it or them?

And will you ever give up that fight?

My friends, the universe speaks to us and sometimes breaks a window or two to be heard. One of our jobs in life is to take part in that conversation.

It’s easier than you might think - just look, listen, learn, and then act.


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