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  • It was my birthday and "Rat Man" appeared on our doorstep. A rodent stenciled on his company car, clipboard in hand, uniformed "Mike" made a pest control cold call. He cast a wary glance at a bundled twig-tuft nestled at the bottom of a lantern overhead. That was how I learned we had a "guest."

    As part of a remodel, thought and careful consideration had been given to our home's entryway. Here, by elevation change, partial enclosure, and materials and texture employed, we sought to give visitors transitional pause. Thresholds are the portals between outside and inside; the demarcation between "us" and "others." In Latin culture, the correct etiquette is for guests to proclaim "con permiso" when entering a home. That is accompanied by a humble head-bow. Thresholds demand respect.

    In the iron scrollwork of an antique lantern purchased at a Buenos Aires flea market, a bird had decided to nest. Thought and consideration also went into that decision. I somehow knew at the time that any eggs laid would be blue. Salguero family legends and milestone parental anniversary gifts are sometimes bluebird-derived. Bluebirds appear on our family crest.

    Over the coming days, the nest grew. Dried tendrils caressed my head as I entered and left our home. What matter of boldness inspired such nest-building behavior? Our Jalisco-born housekeeper offered the wisdom of her ranchero father: "Birds only nest near people when there is good energy." How wonderful to be so anointed.

    I once spied our visitor through the surreal magnified beveled-edge of a frosted-glass door insert. I was "Alice" with my own "Looking Glass." At other times, I would open our door, from the inside, and see a brown-blur arc and disappear into the distance.

    One day an extraordinary egg appeared. It was perched upright near nest's edge in plain view, like a sentinel. An omen surely meant for me. It was blue.

    More time passed and a step stool nest-check revealed three perfect nested eggs. But these were white and huddled. With four eggs in the nest, my nuclear family was now fully represented. What augury to make of this?

    - - -
    I took an overseas trip and was unsettled. Two days in Buenos Aires to visit a sick family friend on what would be his deathbed. When I returned home, the sentinel egg had changed color. It was now white and It had tumbled into the outer nest thicket. The significance seemed portentous.

    Four days later a trip to Madrid. I broke my ankle and hurried home since I needed immediate surgery involving a pin, plate and screws. Once clear-headed, I asked my wife if our eggs had hatched. She was unable to tell. The step stool was brought out and the nest was inspected. The huddled eggs had vanished without a trace. No shells or telltale evidence that they had ever existed. Houdini could not have made a more mysterious disappearance. Yet, the sentinel egg poked precariously out of the bottom side of the nest, as if pondering the final 6 ft. drop.

    I plucked this egg from its peril and brought it inside. Upon close inspection I saw that its grey and rust color pattern mimicked, in miniature, a Shiva Lingam stone I had given my mother years earlier. That sacred stone, carefully selected on a hallmark day when I was one-with-the-world after a protracted illness, had the exact same two-tone, yin-yang pattern. A delicate eggshell incarnation of the stone had been gifted back to me. The egg was perfect except for a pinprick.

    Such are mysterious moments. It is in the interstice of sacred space that we attempt to divine life’s meaning.
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