I was walking my usual Saturday morning route at El Cerrito Plaza between Weight Watchers and Starbucks (Starbucks oatmeal with all the fixins is yummy, filling, and 10 points) when I saw an unusual sign. Most preprinted signs are either advertising a product or alerting you of some rule that you mustn't violate, e.g., that if you park here you will be towed.
But this sign wasn't asking me to purchase or re-park. It was simply an explanation, posted by someone who wanted people to understand why birds might be flying around in the area. And I appreciated that such an effort was made so that passersby wouldn't mistake this behavior as a Hitchcockian uprising taking place between Trader Joe's and the Shoe Pavilion.
And knowing that any avian swooping was due to maternal instincts rather than an aggressive strain of mall birds was indeed comforting.
But mostly what struck me is that someone cared enough to clue me in on this phenomenon. The fact is I didn't see any birds whatsoever, so I never would have known that nesting was happening so close by in such a suburban setting. I would have blithely passed through, probably contemplating how many activity points I was racking up by walking across the plaza. (Weight watchers will understand that reference, and the rest of you can probably figure it out.)
But instead I thought about birds. And motherhood. And nature living harmoniously amid commerce. I smiled. Because there are worse things to ponder on a Saturday morning.