As a kid I used to get up long before my parents, often just to watch the birds as they started their day. The small brown sparrows were my favourite, mainly because they’d hop about happily eating any breadcrumbs I threw on the dewy grass in New Zealand.
One morning, I hatched a plan to get a bit closer imagining what it would feel like to catch and hold one of those tiny birds.
I laid bread crusts beneath an old wooden fruit box I’d propped up with a gnarly stick. Tying one end of a length of string round the stick I threaded the rest back inside through the venetian blinds.
I stood still inside waiting watching and waiting some more.
It took ages.
It was trial and error. At seven years of age it often was. It entertained me for days.
Birds came and went, went and came…as did I making design adjustments.
I didn’t catch one.
The box was modified until it was the best design I could make. I’d added a wire back to the box so I could see inside and check if I’d actually caught a bird. The stick was cut to be straight and fork free. Gnarly garden string was replaced with some that was smooth and sleek. The tension on the string was tight and perfect. The venetian blinds stayed silent when I yanked on the string!
And finally…just that once and for a fleeting moment, I had one inside the box.
I ran outside, excited beyond belief.
Just one thing I didn’t count on.
Birds will always fly away when you lift the box up..
It was back to the drawing board for design 101!