Gnatcatcher Bird like the one that died.
I came into work Saturday morning to find a little bird laying stunned and hurt on the cement outside the Showroom window. The bird was obviously hurt from flying into the glass panel (a common occurence) but was still holding its head up and moving its wings. It hadn’t died the quick death of a broken neck which is more often the norm. This little bird was still fighting to live, trying to move off the hot cement to the nearby shade of grass and flower beds. I watched it – fighting with myself over what to do. I understood I was going to try to help the bird even though there was little chance of it living.
I found a clean cloth and gently moved the bird under the shade of the pompous grass at the edge of the flower beds. There wasn’t any blood visible, the wings and neck/head seemed fine, but it appeared to have damaged its legs and tail either in the hit against the glass or the fall to the hard cement. It still seemed stunned – I kept thinking it might be okay in a few minutes. It just needed to rest a minute, catch its breath. Any minute now, it would stand-up and shake-off the hit, straighten its tail, wiggle its feet and take flight…maybe?
The salespeople walked by without a glance as they spread across the lot to put balloons on all the cars. Then, as they drifted back, each one came to see what I was doing and to ask why I was trying to help the bird. The general consensus was that I was wasting my time because “it’s just gonna die anyway.” I should take it and throw it into the edge of the woods, they said. “It’s not gonna make it.” I knew they were probably right and that everything they said was probably true, but understanding that didn’t make me less inclined to try to help the bird. I understood all the reasons I should walk away, let it go, accept it…but there was a small sliver of hope…maybe it could heal and be okay.
I went online and read-up on helping injured wild birds, called a local animal shelter, and moved the bird into a makeshift nest of Shammy rags and shredded paper in a large box in my office. I put a small cup of water in the box. He drank from it and then snuggled into the paper pieces and went to sleep. If I could just keep him alive through the night I’d be able to take him to a wild bird care facility. Someone there would know what to do to help him recover. I did my research, followed the advice I’d received, and hoped for a miracle.
I didn’t get a miracle. He died snuggled and perched in his makeshift nest later in the evening. The hopes and maybe’s didn’t pan out. Sometimes life works that way.
I tried to save a bird years ago. I was in first grade and found an injured black-bird outside during recess. I managed to get a box from the janitor and put the bird in it to take home. There I was, sitting in the back of the schoolbus, with a bird in a box and all the other children screaming to see. I made it home with the bird alive and squaking inside the shoebox.
I don’t remember what was wrong with the bird, only that it was hurt and couldn’t fly. I do remember the anger and upset my grandparents had when I arrived home with the bird though. As I recall, they were very angry that I’d picked the bird up, were amazingly worried about all sorts of diseases I could get, and wanted to know why the teachers allowed me to do such a thing. It was a ruckus beyond anything I could have imagined or expected. I just wanted to help the bird.
I don’t remember what happened to that bird. My grandpa took it with the promise of helping it for me while my grandmother scrubbed my hands with Clorox. I know…it probably died. But, I’m sure they told me it was okay and flew away…and don’t you NEVER, EVER pick up a bird again!!!
I’m sad today over the little gray bird I couldn’t save. It was an adorable and gentle creature. I know that one little bird isn’t a big deal in the real scheme of things…but, maybe it’s a big enough deal.
I watched a huge, fat Robin sitting on my front porch steps as I drank my coffee this morning. There were dozens of other birds flying around, picking bugs from my flower beds and the yard, and eating birdseed from the feeders at the walkway. Birds everywhere – chirping, tweeting, preening, and singing the morning hello.
I arrived at work and watched the two families of finchs feeding their babies in the nests under our store awning. There were Gnatcatchers, Wrens, and Pigeons across the side grass lots at the Dealership. More singing, preening, and rambling the lawn. There were birds everywhere this morning, but I kept thinking about the one that was missing. The one that died quietly in the sunset.
Maybe…Hope…Maybe…Life happens…Death is part of life.
Sometimes we get our miracles. Sometimes we don’t get them. And, sometimes, the miracle is different than we expect it to be…
Two totally different animals look at each other. A little grey-eye flutters and a green eye meets its gaze. The two animals connect, a moment is shared, they are joined for a split second in time. Hope happens. Compassion happens. Unity happens. For a moment the world shifts . . .
Maybe that’s the real miracle in the end.