This day was shaping up badly. Extra shitty because it is the first day of the year. The first day is supposed to set the tone for the year. Like the first footer over the threshold. A bird was trapped in the school. Setting off motion alarms. It was a male Northern Flicker, the little rascal. It was hell-and-gone high near the bay windows over thirty feet. I looked at it and it looked at me. When we made eye contact it flapped from one window to the next, violently. I opened all the doors. Said sorry to it a thousand times and harassed it with a long pole. I tired it out until it came down and flew north, past the paper room, past the office, past the staff room and out the door into January 1st. That open air must have felt good. I almost rejoiced. My arms were sore and I wasn’t doing any of the flying, just swinging the pole. Superstition says a bird in the house means a death in the family. Not sure what it means if it is the first day of the year and the bird is in a school. I don’t believe in karma, so why should I believe in superstition? Yet the latter seems to make more sense. There is a Flicker that watches me shovel snow in the morning. I talk to it. Sometimes it talks back. We don’t have to understand each other. Tomorrow I will wear a different jacket, just in case we see each other. Maybe he won’t recognize me as the guy with the pole.