Taking inventory

by Lorin Michel Friday, September 9, 2016 11:02 PM

A hummingbird hit the dining room window today. It was a small thud, barely a noise. We looked out and saw it lying still, upside down. Both of us shook our heads sure we’d lost another one. It’s not uncommon for a bird to think it’s going to go through the house, not realizing that there is double paned glass in the way. We started making plans to dispose of the body, but as we watched, the tiny bird began to flutter its wings. It righted itself and soon it had buzzed away. It was as if it had taken just a few minutes to take inventory and clear its tiny bird head. 

Our first bird strike, not long after we’d moved in, resulted in death. It hit the windows that wrap the bathroom, behind the bathtub. We heard a thud but didn’t know where it had happened. It was early. We left the house with dog in tow, on our way for a walk. The bird was lying on the dirt, just below the glass. It was obvious that it was dead. 

We had another strike near the front door, and that one, too, died. It bothers us. When we built the house we wanted it to look – to be – as if it came up from the desert. I suppose we did that a little too well. We also don’t like to displace or kill anything. We painstakingly transplanted cactus plants. We relocated toads and other critters. Even when we had a snake in the house, we managed to push it out onto the deck and off the deck rather than kill it. The exception is spiders. I’m sorry but I just can’t find it in my heart to spare spiders that are in the house. We’d relocate a tarantula, and have. Luckily none have been inside. 

We’ve also helped Gila monsters to safety; ditto desert tortoises. We would help birds if we had the opportunity. 

We had another bird fly into the window in the bathroom and it hit with such force that I was sure it had to be dead. I looked out, wincing a bit as I expected to see it lying motionless. Surprisingly, it was sitting up on the dirt. It was stunned, I could tell. It sat there, still, glazed, for at least 15 minutes. It was as if it was taking inventory of its parts.

Ok. Let’s see. Two wings. Check. Two feet with claws still attached. Check. A beak. Check. Do my wings work? No. Wait. Yes! 

Soon enough, it shuddered a bit, flapped its wings and then lifted up and off in the opposite direction of the windows. Smart bird. 

When Kevin fell from the sky, as we affectionately refer to his in-house mishap, he too took inventory. He had been on his extension ladder, the feet of it on the marble tile of the entrance way, the other end resting against the beam on the ceiling of the second story. We had vaulted ceilings in the Oak Park house and he was doing some dry wall crack repair. The feet slipped on the tile and he had less than a second to realize he was going down and that there was nothing to grab onto, nothing to break his fall, nothing but the floor getting ever closer. He crashed down, but was wrong about nothing to break his fall. We had and still have a wall table that also holds several bottles of wine. He right foot and ankle crashed into that with enough force to flip him over. He landed on his back on top of the ladder. 

Immediately, he started his count: Head and back not broken; ditto neck. Two arms, two hands, 10 fingers. Two legs, two feet – wait. Maybe not. Honey? 

Taking inventory is what we do when we’re checking to make sure all is in order. It’s something we do with our live. We take inventory of where we are and where we’re going. We take inventory of what we’ve accomplished and what we haven’t. We take inventory of how we’ve measured up to our own ideals, and hopefully, we can report that we have.

We’re generally happy. We feel joy, and sorrow. We are healthy, we appreciate, we trust in the future by learning from the past. We love … family, friends, pets. We love more than we hate. We take inventory because it gives us opportunity to make changes. We take inventory to discover what’s important. And to unleash what we find to celebrate every day. 

We take inventory to live it out loud.

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live out loud

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