After a breathless call to my friend the local bird expert, I knew to calm this apparently uninjured bird by placing him under an overturned pot for some dark and quiet. After he'd rested, I caught the non-flying fellow. Following my bird-loving friend's succinct advice, I took the birdlet to the terrace, and, heart in mouth, I threw him into the sky. He flew. Every cell in my body was cheering him on, and I squinted after him until he was a speck in the blue, until finally there was nothing but the memory of the scissoring wings in my hands.
This was before I acquired chickens. These days I candle eggs. In the pitch black of night, you take a bright flashlight out to the chicken house, where the broody hen's in a sort of chicken daze, all but cross-eyed with weariness sitting night and day on her eggs because she is absolutely compelled to. You slip an egg out from under her warm breast, you cup your hand around the egg, and you hold it against the light.
Remember the red semi-translucent glow your fingers would make when you held them up in front of a candle or a flashlight? (Was I the only one who tried to see through her fingers?) Candling eggs is like that. All those pin-prick holes in the egg--the ones the chick-to-be uses to breathe--they shine like stars in a pink firmament. You're staring into a glowing universe, condensed to the size of your palm, only you aren't seeking constellations, but rather the faint webwork of blood veins, which confirm that life is under construction, that this particular egg has indeed been fertilized.
Life is busting out all over, beyond the chicken house too. The neighbor's lambs are freshly born and capering, there's a tan calf resting in the clover of a nearby field, the woodpecker must be feeding a family (judging by the all-day percussion), the cuckoo is back and cuckooing, the swallows are chortling, the bumblebees are careening drunkenly from one source of nectar to the next. The frog mating chorus is in full nightly swing, augmented by the periodic sleepy whoot of the owls, while the fuzzy bats (no bigger than a tablespoon each) that live behind my window shutters have forsaken hibernation to resume their circular dining cruises through the deep, cool air.