I kept hearing a bang and thump from down in my basement. Had someone left a tennis shoe in the dryer. No, it wasn’t that regular. It was intermittent, at irregular intervals and besides I wasn’t drying any clothes. I eased down the stairs and peeked around the door to the utility room. THUMP. WHACK. A bird was flying through the shrubs into the window over our splash sink. It was a cardinal. A female cardinal. When I walked into the room, it flew away.

Huh. I tried to figure out the cause of that curious behavior. Outside, when I squatted behind the embattlement of yew bushes fronting the house, I could see a reflection of trees and cloud in my larger than typical Michigan basement window. I wondered if the bird thought it could fly on through the landscape mirrored in front of her. Or maybe she was being territorial. Had a nest nearby. Protecting her young from another bird. Or was she the jealous type and didn’t like competition from someone who was as good looking as she was. In any case, I could still hear her whacking her head against the screen as I tried to eat my lunch an hour later.

I debated making a video of the critter to post online. But then I realized it would be redundant. Facebook and Twitter are replete with jokes, cartoons and poster boards of people who bang their heads against the wall, over and over for one cause or another. My bird would be just another obsessive compulsive with blue-sky political delusions or red-head political inclinations—a metaphor for freedom of self-expression, no matter the personal pain.

Or maybe, this bird’s persistence in pursuing her dream is a metaphor for any of us who have an ideal and pursue it despite repeated resistance and the inherent solitude of a personal crusade. As long as it isn’t simply obsessive-compulsive behavior. Or a self-image issue. Or projected hatred. Or…who knows why any of us keeps doing what we do? Habit? Lack of perspective?  Single minded determination…stubbornness?

I tried putting a piece of plywood in front of the window. It didn’t completely cover the glass. The bird kept thumping at the sliver of reflection that remained, raising the question, ‘when is the next election?’

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