Thursday, October 26, 2006

A bird in the hand

Cedar Waxwing by John K. Cassady
Originally uploaded by jcassady.
I climbed up the stairs, lifted up the blanket at the top, then the box underneath that, then there was a towel. Just where was the dead bird?

My wife had sent me a couple of angst ridden emails during the day at school about how one of our cats had snagged a bird, a juvenile cedar waxwing. There was blood all over the place, she had covered the bird up on the stairway to the basement. She was in the middle of teaching voice lessons....

I was not looking forward to going home. "Get the shovel ready", a colleague had advised me. For a possible mercy killing - and burial.

But it was alive. I saw movement, then felt it struggling under all this stuff. Five hours after the incident. I carefully picked it up, trying to figure out where its body was in all the blankets, not let it get away - and mostly, fearing I'd break a fragile wing or foot. Carried it outside. Put it on a post, about 7 feet off the ground, in a sheltered area.

The bird stood up on the post, turned around, and flew off. A straight, strong flight.

I think the bird will be ok. No blood - it was probably berry juice. We wondered later if the bird had actually had too much overripe fruit...? Probably flew into a window and stumbled into the house through an open door.

I had held the bird in my hands, about a foot from my face for a few seconds. We looked each other in the eye. The bird was panting. My heart was racing. When it flew away, I felt happier than I had in a long time.


Anonymous said...

From time to time I have moments in my life that cause me to pause, enjoy it ( how ever long that may be) and contemplate the little things in life. Those times, which I'm happy to say happen more frequently and are much more enjoyable the older I get. Anyway those are the moments I call "Perfect Moments” You holding a bird for a brief time in your hand, looking eye to eye, then watching it fly away. Now that was a perfect moment!!!!! Glad you didn't have to use the dreaded "Wild Wilkie Shovel Maneuver"

David W. Wilkie 8-)
Arbor Heights Elementary School
Kindergarten Room 4

Sarah said...

I had a bird visit this last my room.Extrodinary to see this here. Birds...wonder what they mean? It was a long few hours of trying to help it out of my room. Very challenging. I wrote of this and the instant freedom. Gone.
Birds are peeking into my writing. The flight aspect, the natural world aspect...the fact I find I can't write anything without relating it to bird stories of my life. A life in which watching birds was so thrilling in West Virginia my home...but i will tell you that if you look at birds as signs or if you look at the role birds have played in story... then you kind of glimpse times of being that are gaining glimpses of something.The little bird in my classroom has a meaning for me I have yet to really comprehend. It's there just on the edges of what I can know. I sensed this because I sensed that shovel (it's possible death)and those dreaded oh no's you spoke of. Whenever I start to feel something like this, deeper, more real, more about facing something...then I start to watch my life in a little different way. My bird was so trapped , so tiny, so alive, so easily vulnerable. It was right my grasp. After it left I felt like Holden Caufield in that wonderful piece where he wonders where the ducks go in the winter in Catcher in the Rye...where do birds go. I find so few dead birds, are they just eaten? Would my little bird make it. Steve Allen wrote in a last book about the planet as essentially one of violence and prey /predator...and I so avoid this line of thought. My little captive has to live in a very harsh world. And of course it's to that I find myself writing all my life...I'm enjoying reading here on your blog and thinking of your waxwing, sarah