Free Show

Several of us waiting for the bus this morning watched a starling glide in and land on the pipe suspended high above our heads. The bird fluttered in the wind as it fought to balance itself on the slick rounded surface of the pipe which is attached to a pole across the street, stretches over two lanes, and its uncapped end opens directly above the bus stop and right over our heads.

The starling gained its balance, hopped sideways to the end of the pipe, and cocked its head to peek into the open hole. It then sat upright, hesitated a second, and flew across the street and into the woods.

I remembered last spring when I noticed a starling fly in and out of the open end of this same pipe. For days it carried grass and such as it built a nest, then later made trip after trip into the pipe carrying insects to the nestlings. I was encouraged this morning by the bird’s brief visit.

“Maybe it’s a sign of spring.” I said to the others. I related how I’d watched a starling last spring as it went through the nesting process in the pipe overhead. It was fun to see that “free show” every morning.

“What made you notice a bird in a pipe?” one puzzled woman asked. She takes a later bus but arrives at the stop to wait as early as the rest of us.

“Not sure,” I began, “but there are lots of those free shows out there.”

The woman adjusted her scarf and pulled her hat down tighter against the wind. “Like what? What other free shows?”

I gave more bird examples. Birds are everywhere, relaxing to see in flight, or comical when squabbling over randomly tossed French fries. Clouds are pretty fun too and I asked the woman if when driving she’d ever missed a green light while preoccupied watching particularly cool cloud formations.

She stared at me as if ready to sign a restraining order. “No. No I haven’t.”

I assumed our conversation was over since her facial expression indicated she thought me a nut. She readjusted her scarf, which was flailing in the wind, and slowly stepped closer to me.

“Those sound nice but with my luck the birds would peck and the clouds would form a thunderstorm!” she halfway laughed as she offered her negative spin.

“What about trees?” I asked.

“What about them?” she countered as she slipped on her gloves.

“Well, this time of year with no leaves you notice their form. Spring comes and you watch buds light up the woods with green. In summer they’re lush and everyone loves leaves in the fall.”

“I pick up sticks and rake leaves in my yard. I can’t say I’m a fan.” she responded negatively.

I often say we should look for “sprinkles” in our days, little moments of fun, more of those free shows. It’s sappy and silly, but so what, it’s nice. With less and less nice in the world these days we have to hunt harder for sprinkles when we need them. I suggested this notion to the woman.

“Free shows like that bird are sprinkles in the day. They’re out there if you watch for them.” I said as I saw my bus approach the stop.

“Ha!” the woman laughed as she stepped back to wait for her bus. “Sprinkles? I’ve never been sprinkled. With my luck I’d be splattered!”

You can’t win them all I thought as I stepped onto the bus and took a seat. Through the window I saw the starling glide in and land on the pipe again. The waiting woman looked up at the bird as it fought to gain its balance. I thought how cool, she noticed the bird and she’ll recognize it for what it is. She’ll finally get sprinkled.

My bus pulled away slowly and I watched the woman watching the bird. I glanced up once more at the pole to see the starling back itself towards the end of the pipe. It raised its wings a bit, stretched its body out a little, and proceeded to poop…the wind caught it and hurled it in several directions.

The woman stepped backwards quickly. I couldn’t hear her through the glass but her lips mouthed words I knew I’d not be able to type here. The starling flew across the street and into the woods. The woman rapidly wiped her arm and scarf, her mouth in constant motion.

Oh well, she was right. She didn’t get sprinkled, she got splattered.

And I got another free show.

Stuart M. Perkins



Filed under everyday, karma, old fashioned, positive

217 responses to “Free Show

  1. Pingback: Raising kids .. with an iguana life lesson | Thoughts and things ...

  2. You have a way with words. Lovely, soulful writing.
    Thanks for the follow, am delighted to have discovered you!

  3. I have to stifle my laughter. The household is sleeping. Love it!

  4. Hahahahah – Loved it! Thank you so much.

  5. I enjoyed visiting your blog but have to go now. I will come back for more ‘sprinkles’. 🙂

  6. mgsunshine

    A merry heart does good like medicine. Thank you for filling my day with much laughter. . . . God bless. I must peel myself away from this laptop now.

  7. Very articulate, such a way with wording that draws the reader in!

  8. the bird got a free show too!

  9. So true, happiness is sprinkled all around us yet people are obsessed with the splatters. These free shows are my daily dose of uninterrupted smiles. My hubby just never understands whats so energetic in looking at a butterfly fly past or the moon has always been like that whats beautiful in it. To him Its childish walking barefoot on dewy grass or tilting your head up to locate a roaring aircraft flying high to some unknown destination. If being happy is being child-like I really don’t find any thing wrong with it. Always been enjoying the free shows . Its necessary for my well being. People who feel blessed, welcome blessings .

  10. “Free shows like that bird are sprinkles in the day. They’re out there if you watch for them.”
    I think this is pretty much how it goes. You put very simply into words a basic tenet of how to go about living and actually see the day—the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary. What we see, and how we ‘wake up’ to what we see…

  11. caprilis

    LOVED this 🙂

  12. Pingback: My “Unique Blogger Award” Nomination (and the Importance of Telling Your Own Story) | CLEvangelism

  13. She got exactly what she was expecting and so did you.

  14. It’s true life is filled with tiny moments of joy if you are not to negative to look for them. I am in the process of learning that.

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