Coffin in the Roof

A couple of years back, I lived in a house full of owls. But not really.

So we’ve lived in this house for a while, and as all things do, it began to wear and age. One of the ways that wear manifested was in broken eaves. This meant that birds could gain access to the roof and because it wasn’t fixed in time, they did. For now, let’s move on from the fact that situations and things deteriorate when repair is delayed. We will talk about that in another post, I promise. Right now, let’s talk about the owls. First there was one, and I thought she (or he) was so cute. And then there was a whole company of owls and they were not so cute any longer. They made a lot of noise and quite often banged on my window at night and it got annoying. So, as I wrote about earlier, we did something about it. The something was to fix the broken eaves. We called in a contractor, gave him a brief, paid the deposit, all was well.

All should have been well. But it wasn’t. See, the guy that the contractor sent to do the work was not the brightest crayon in the pack, or maybe he just didn’t care. When he came to fix the eaves – and in so doing, block the hole – he neglected to shoo the birds away. Now, he says that about seven or eight flew away when he got there, so he thought they were gone but there must have been about eight more that didn’t fly away and got trapped in the roof. Their access to food was cut off and they started dying one by one and then a different sound started to haunt me: the sound of owls trying to escape from a sealed enclosure. Some of the time, it was frantic fluttering. Some of the time, it was ‘yelling and screaming’. Most of the time, it felt like a small child was throwing a tantrum – jumping all over the place in the roof. Eventually, they all died. And we won’t talk about the smell of their rotting carcasses.

And each one of them, in her (or his) own special way, taught me to stay woke – aware, in tune, abreast of things – and keep an eye on what’s going on around me. And never be paralyzed by the fear of leaving what used to be so comfortable. Because sometimes, comfortable can become a coffin and like the frog, we may not realize it until it’s sealed shut.

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