I’ve seen birds in public buildings before (mostly in grocery stores), but I’ve never seen birdhouses for said birds until we were on our way back to Atlanta from Fresno after Christmas. My husband pointed them out to me, undoubtedly in an attempt to distract me from thinking about getting on an airplane.
But there they were, two wooden birdhouses perched way up high. I did that thing I always do when struck by something: I came to a standstill as if caught by tar. My husband called to me that we were not yet at our gate and I snapped out of my reverie and lumbered on, laden with luggage.
I sat at the gate for a few moments to catch my breath after hauling a ridiculous amount of new and old belongings, which by this time included eight vintage Pyrex bowls that I got for Christmas. I stared out the window at the snowcapped Sierras and I thought about the birdhouses. I had to go back and take a picture of them. My husband teased me that taking photographs in the airport might look sketchy and provoke security. I gave him a playful nudge, fished out my camera, and went back.
But there really were security cameras immediately beneath the birdhouses and I did hesitate for a moment. It could look like I was photographing positions of airport security cameras or some other such sinister plot. Of course, nothing happened and I assure you I’m not writing this from a prison cell.
I’d like to think that the Fresno Yosemite International Airport (FAT – yes, really) is thinking outside the box on this. Never mind that the birdhouses are essentially boxes — that’s not the point.
I’d love to think that FAT has found a way to coexist peacefully with these creatures that might be a pain to them. But really, it’s more than coexisting – it’s a genuine act of hospitality and care. The birds are stuck there and I’m sure would much rather be out in nature than trapped perpetually in an airport. Who wouldn’t? And I’m sure FAT would much rather there not be wild creatures roaming about at will in their airport.
I found these small wooden structures, surrounded by metal and paint and plastic, to be so beautiful and so inspiring. I never imagined I would learn about acceptance and tolerance, hospitality and care, coexistence and peace, from an airport.