Long long ago I mused about how nice it would be if men vied for our attention the way bucks vie for that of a doe. Well, over Pesach it happened to me. Sort of. Not with men, and not with bucks.
I was strolling along a creek on a damp day last week when I heard a repetitive trilling coming from the other side. A bird I’d never seen before, black capped with two white neck rings, and a brown back, was trilling, then spreading his orange fantail, and then trilling again. I watched, fascinated, wondering if there was any audience for him out there.
It became apparent that there was—me. Very shortly the young sir was on my side of the creek, strutting not two feet from my shoes. He strutted, trilled, and fanned out his orange tail for me. Like his intended bride, I was fascinated. By the tail, and by the fact that I’d never had a bird so close to my shoes before (aggressive NYC pigeons do not count as birds—they’re some kind of mutant).
Things got even more intimate. After showing off for me for a few minutes, he got impatient, and hurled himself at my shoe.
“Whoa!” I said. “Don’t rush things!” Hurt at being so repelled, he bounced back a few feet to preen his feathers. “Look, don’t take it personally,” I tried to explain. “I just don’t think I’m really your type. We’re not meant to be.”
He was clearly smitten, because he ignored me completely, and began the marching again.
“I’m sorry,” I said, stepping around him. “It’s not you—it’s me.”
There was a devastated silence behind me. I walked a few feet and then turned around.
The little bird was watching. Tri-i-i-ill? he asked hopefully.
“No, really no,” I said. And walked away.
He got over it. A few minutes later I heard him at it again, singing into the empty field.