I have but recently become a parent.
I woke up one morning to find an empty nest atop the cupboard in my study. The next day saw two small eggs in it. A week later, they hatched, and I became an adoptive father to a pair of baby pigeons.
They were furry little cretins. All they’d do was eat the food their parents would forage for them, create a racket when they spotted a stranger and huddle behind the adults when he came too close.
Then they grew up.
I remember how they’d practice flying. One of the adolescents would flap its wings for all it was worth while the other would refuse to leave the sanctuary of its twig-lined perch. Both, however, shared the burden of messing up the area and would swell like bullfrogs if anyone tried to prod them into learning faster.
There is no sound quite as maddening as the rapid flutter of a pigeon learning to fly. My study was littered generously on a daily basis and my home invaded by restless parents loath to leave their offspring alone. I couldn’t even approach my study table and was disbarred from a part of my own house.
A month later, my patience was finally exhausted when I found two more eggs in the nest. My dad displaced the faint-hearted sibling from its sanctuary and carefully carried the wreath of twigs downstairs to set it down outside.
Five minutes later, the eggs were no longer in it. The younger pigeons were suddenly homeless while the parents had lost two of their children to a passing hungry crow.
I hope my story will be different from theirs.
You see, I too will have to leave my home some day. But like the pigeons, I haven’t yet finished learning how to survive on my own. Even I make occasionally successful attempts to do things well and often create similar messes for myself and my home in the process. Some of my dreams are still unborn and I’d like to leave home at a time of my own choosing.
My worst nightmare, however, is not having a home to go back to. I flutter, I fly, I fail, and I seek the refuge of my home every day.
I think the pigeons deserved that as much as I do.
But the nest itself has disappeared. The parents keep flying back, looking for their lost abode, mourning the loss of their family. I do not have the heart to drive them away again.
Their children, I fear, are lost to me forever.
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