Yesterday morning I had a minor crisis with my web host being temporarily down while we were trying to get our little family dressed and on the road to our Thanksgiving feast.
As I was getting myself dressed to go, my husband Nick suddenly yelled
There’s a bird trapped in the house!
I ran into the living room to help because I figured the poor bird might be cornered by my three year old ball of all-boy mischief Bex, who as of late had been poking cats with his sharp plastic toy dinosaur’s claws and pulling at their tails with unabashed glee.
I am reminded of the phrase: Snips and snails and puppy dog tails…that’s what little boys are made of.
So I bolted into the living room and saw that it was just a tiny blue and white bird and Bex was busy playing in the back of the house, unaware that he had an unsuspecting victim.
The little bird looked scared, banging its wings fruitlessly against our front window pane to try to escape.
I wanted to save it without hurting it, and my mind raced back to when I was a kid in Hays, Kansas, and my sister Laura and I would sometimes rescue baby birds who had fallen out of their nests—
—I mean the kind that had already been rejected by their mother or had a broken wing, the little birds who would surely die if no one stepped in.
Our parents would let us bring them in the house and try to nurse them back to health and a few times it worked, we were able to get the birds flying again and set them free, back into the wilds of small town Kansas.
Okay, maybe not the wilds, maybe the wheat fields.
With the bird still flailing, I was transported back to the here and now and realized that it would injure itself shortly with the desperate banging on the window pane. We had to act fast.
I moved in and gently scooped the bird into one hand, making sure its wings were tucked naturally against the bird’s sides. I was a little afraid I’d get fear pecked, but that didn’t happen.
The little bird just relaxed in my hand, but I could feel the warmth of its small body and tiny, rapidly beating heart. A small life in my hand, dependent on me for survival. Such a profound feeling.
The bird looked me in the eye and I was amazed at these small moments we get to experience in this world. The wonder and beauty of nature and God’s creatures always astounds me.
We captured a quick picture and I carried the bird gently outside to our front porch. I still didn’t know if its wings were already injured, my mother in law Linda told me later in the day that this is how trapped birds often die, trying to find an escape through a window pane.
I slowly opened my hand and was surprised that the bird didn’t move for a few moments. The tiny bird then stood up in my hand, seeming astonished that this, in fact, might mean freedom. Escape. But the bird was in no rush.
Then suddenly the tiny blue bird lifted its wings and took flight, shooting almost straight out in front of me into the bright blue sky and the golden, sunny California day.
It was Thanksgiving morning and I couldn’t help but feel lucky that my day began that way.
Whenever I see the beauty of nature before me I try to remind myself to take it in, to feel lucky. I try to remind myself that in the sometime pain and even just boring drudgery of human life we get these magical moments and we can’t (or shouldn’t) allow ourselves to miss them.
Then later yesterday morning we drove up to Nick’s Mom’s place in beautiful, tranquil Ojai, California, nestled in the mountains. It was still a crisp, clear sunny day and we got to watch the famous Pink Moment in Ojai, when the sun sets on the mountains and for a few moments they actually glow with a vivid pink hue.
I told Linda about the little blue and yellow bird in my hand and she said:
It was a harbinger.
I have to admit I sort of knew what that word meant, but not exactly. I asked Linda and she said that a harbinger is a sign of things to come.
A person or a thing that announces or indicates the approach or arrival of something, a forerunner.
Linda said it was no accident that the little bird chose to come to me on Thanksgiving morning, that it was a lucky sign. I hope so.
It made me think of all of the animals and creatures we get limited but beautiful time with, the childhood pets with short lives, the deer we see in the clearing, the rescue animals.
And the bird’s delicate warmth and beating heart made me think of how fragile and temporary we all are, but that we can always become untangled from fear and be free again…
To let our hearts take flight and even soar.
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