Early this morning, I saw a bird glance off the glass door and land right side up on the mat a few feet away. I watched for signs of life. It’s head was upright, neck did not look broken. Eyes were still open—a bit. Finally a flicker of a breath. The door opening did not startle the little creature, or if it did, the bird did not let on. It sat, miniature statue-like, as I approached.
My neighbor recently told me how she came to be known as “the bird lady.” When she, or others, found fallen birds, she would hold them and gently breathe on them. I’ve never once cuddled an injured creature and believed I brought it back to life or even helped in any way. But I reached out and gently lifted him to my crouched position. That’s when I saw the first signs of “fight” in the bird. It hooked its toenails into the aggregate patio and offered considerable vertical resistance.
I held the bird close, blowing gently neither warm nor cool breath. I considered setting it on the tile table in front of me, but the early morning air was chilly and the table would be colder still. No signs of bleeding from beak or eyes. This one was probably going to make it, but fixing up a shoe box seemed uncalled for, even though little birdie still had not attempted escape.
Glancing over at the utility table, I saw a pair of garden gloves between a couple of hand tools. Perfect—not cold, not warm,something to cling to, and off the ground away from four-legged creatures. I rose, bird in hand, walked a few steps, and set the little fellow down on a canvas and leather glove, wishing it a safe and prosperous recovery.
Back at my desk, I lost track of time. When I took a break for a drink of water, I peeked out the living room window. By gum, that little thing was still sitting there on the glove! Other than its head seeming to be held a little higher, it was frozen in time. I finished my bio break and went outside. Focusing on the table, I saw no signs of my rescue. The door noise and reflective movement probably startled it. A happy moment for me.
“Fly well, little bird,” I said softly before any part of me could become possessive and want – yea need – to be the beheld savior of a thing whose life I shared for a split second in the scheme of things. But isn’t that what we always want to do? Don’t we always want to be known – and loved – for making a positive difference? Can we let go of ego and still do the good deed?