Constant Cacophony

Shalom aleichem!

Mazel tov to QC alum Yerachmiel (Andrew) & Nessia Goldstein on the birth of a baby girl yesterday morning!Mazel tov to Hudi & Orit Newman on their son Eitan’s bar mitzvah. Eitan was called to the Torah for the first time yesterday (picture below).Mazel tov to R. Uri & Avigal Kaploun on the birth of a great-grandson!

Mazel tov to Sam & Devorah Horowitz on the birth of a baby boy!

Mazel tov to Haina Just-Michael & Bernard Michael on being honored by the Young Israel of New Rochelle! I was very happy to be their guest at the dinner.

* * *
The following email was written by Tzipah. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

It was a pretty bad decision. Newly polished wooden floors were scratched, and a sloppy repair job was done.  At the beginning of the summer, two years ago, we swapped out our daughter Shoshi’s half-broken air conditioner with another half-broken one.  The main problem was that the new one was only half the size of the old one.  The handyman stuck a piece of wood to cover the hole in her wall and a small unit now sits inside of a large metal sleeve (which goes through the wall and extends outside).

Apparently the “our” in “our house” ends on the inside of the walls; a nice family of birds decided to make their home & build a nest in the oversized metal sleeve of the aforementioned AC unit.  Like all good Jewish parents we told her, “we’ll take care of it after Passover.”
The problem with promising “after Passover,” is that inevitably Passover does come to an end….

We had no idea what to do about the constant chirping, and the scratchy noises of little bird legs that have become a part of her natural habitat.  There is no actual wall between her room and the nest so it sounds as if they are in her room.  Shoshi declared that no matter how many times she banged on her window the birds would not fly away; there was constant chirping and she thinks that one got stuck.

When I went upstairs it was as if someone was playing a nature CD, the constant cacophony would not stop! I felt like I should apologize to the scores of nature and animal stories I’ve read to the kids over the years, all the cute baby animals whose picture makes us smile and all those trips to the zoo where we enjoy nature while nature remains locked tight behind gates.  Yes birds are beautiful in books….but in our AC sleeve is a different story.

In an attempt to deal with the issue I finally got in touch with the Wild Bird Fund.  They explained that the chirping is coming from newborn baby birds and if we move the nest the parents will abandon them and the babies will die.  Oy. They also explained that the birds will be gone naturally in a few more weeks and we can seal up the opening after they leave.

The babies are too young to fly, which is why they are chirping all day in the AC sleeve – soon they will drop to whatever is below (our front porch), spend a few days on the ground and then they will fly away. In the end there isn’t much to do but wait, the person from the Wild Bird Fund explained.  Somehow understanding the bigger picture changes everything  and all of a sudden the chirping is pretty cute. I even told Shoshi not to bang on the window, so as not to scare the babies.

There are many lessons and I’m happy to hear your ideas.  I was thinking that many frustrating situations are more manageable when we realize that they are just passing phases.  In reality most things are just passing phases even if they continue to chirp all day.  “At night they are quiet,” Shoshi said, “since they are sleeping.”

* * *
UPDATE FROM ME (SHAUL): Yesterday, I borrowed a neighbor’s very tall ladder, ascended with a piece of wire mesh and a drill, and have now closed off the opening.

This morning, Shoshi told me, “I still hear the birds chirping! They got inside!”

Indeed, I heard chirping.

Putting my ear close to the A/C, I determined that there were no birds inside. “Look,” I said, pointing to a tree, “see that black bird? He’s the one chirping.”

Sometimes, all that’s needed is a little perspective, and we realize that a constant cacophony is just a few baby birds trying to make their way in the world.

Shabbat Shalom,