Mama was frantic.
She skittered back and forth.
I braked hard on the gravel behind the four–maybe five–babies poised at the edge of the drive, little puffs on sticks.
I never realized that killdeer look just like shorebirds. Later when I looked them up, I found they are actually a type of plover.
I got out of the car with iPhone in hand. Of course, I never have my camera when I need it.
Mama threw herself down, feigned a broken wing, flopped and twittered.
I chased everyone into the soybeans.
I came back later with the big girl camera. My daughter’s drive was clear, save for a baby bunny who took cover under a bowed Queen Anne.
But as I came closer to the house and prepared to turn around, there was Mama, beside herself again.
I stepped into the grass and stopped cold just before my foot found a frozen fluff ball nestled in dandelions, and two more just beyond.
They never moved, even as I bent down and parted the grass, even as my finger barely brushed a feather. If they didn’t move, I couldn’t see them.
I thought of how often I told my children or the grandgirl to STOP, and how they ignored me or turned their heads toward me while their feet kept moving to argue, “Why?” And how often I explained that to not stop could mean injury or even death. How I’d throw myself in front of them or down for them–but how I couldn’t even do that if they didn’t stop. still.
I backed away and marveled at Mama whose only thought at that moment was to draw me away, to sacrifice herself if need be. She threw herself down again.
Because there’s salvation by the broken, in the broken, for the broken.
Stilled by the broken,