Then The Little Bird Dies…


Author’s Note: A client I saw this morning was trying to keep a family pet — a goldfish named Sebastian — alive. The kids were at school when he was changing the water of their small aquarium, hoping that fresh water would revive Sebastian. The odds didn’t look good to me. It reminded me of this piece I wrote last summer.

Out early to walk the dog. The heaviness of the air makes you notice it. It rained last night and the sun is sleeping late, covered with abundant clouds. A recent encounter with old treasured memories on my mind and Pandora providing the soundtrack. Time to be with my thoughts and a chance to do some good for my heart.

There’s a little bird on the sidewalk, ten paces from my door. It’s flapping it’s wings that have yet to learn to fly. They can’t carry him away as I approach.

I pick him up (do you call a bird “it” if you don’t know their sex?). I’ll call him “him” because I think he was a boy bird. Something in his eyes gave it away. They’re blinking slowly and as I pick him up, he suddenly stops trying to get away. I put the walk on hold. I feel he needs me but I’m not certain what to do for him. I bring him inside, leaving the dog in another room complaining about the delay.

Birdie opens his beak, the way I’ve seen birds do when they’re taking food from a bird-parent. Is he thirsty or hungry? I try both. A little low-fat milk on my son’s syringe. But birds don’t drink milk, they drink water from bird baths or little puddles left behind by June rain. He spits it out. I try water, the smallest drops I can squeeze out. The way he’s opening and closing his beak make me think that birdie is dehydrated. I hold him in my palm and he stretches one of the wings. He blinks some more and gasps. I whisper: “You better not fucking die, you hear?” I think of Saint Francis of Asisi or whichever saint was good at rescuing little animals. I’m no fucking saint, I say to myself. Continue reading