…and I have touched the sky: That was, I think, the name of an old Stgar Trek episode in which the beings of a planet had no idea that they were living inside a ship. Something like that.

I thought of that episode Saturday, during a visit to a local Lowe’s. You’ve seen what I saw there…birds that have found their way inside these huge megalithic stores, never again to find the way out. I’ve always found the sight poignant. Do they miss the sky? Do they feel their confinement?

The remarkable thing this past Saturday was the nest that a of little birds had made high in Lowe’s rafters. The male sat on the steel “branch”, the female was absent. Suddenly, an intruder bird flew in and perched nearby, setting off a noisy, angry response from the nest’s residents. The intruder retreated at last; the air calmed again, the moment calmed. Shoppers below passed without noting the lives being lived over their heads.

Way back when, in the days I worked in the pet department of Woolworth’s, birds would sometimes escape and fly straight for the seeming-freedom of the windows, usually with fatal results. So, these creatures that have set up housekeeping in the huge stores of the day…is it by accident or choice? Trapped or just living another sort of life? I can’t visit a store where birds are flying high, and not wonder whether I should be filled with admiration or pity. For now, I’ll choose admiration.

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