A few posts ago, I wrote that summer was coming in. It has now taken over. I pulled into a sizzling parking lot two days ago and found a baby bird stranded in an adjacent grassy area. It had stretched out its naked adolescent wings and stood stock still. I think he was willing himself to fly (It could have been a she. I know nothing about determining bird gender, but it looked like a he to me). I could hear the parents in the tree above. Their offspring was too large for them to carry up into the nest and was nowhere near ready to fly.
I knew it was a matter of time--and not much at that--before he would bake to death. I hurried to a nearby store, bought a hand towel and a cloth-covered box. To the sounds of his family's tweets and squawks, I scooped him up in the towel and nested him in the box. I apologized to his parents and explained that this was the best alternative, hopped in the car, and drove the fragile thing to our local Wild Bird Rescue Center.
While he was in the grass, the bony creature with the over-sized claws appeared agitated. He tried with all his strength to move and would then give up, fold his wings and grow utterly still. If I came close, he would open his beak as though to warn me not to get closer. Yet, once he was nested in the box in my car, he was completely calm. In fact, he was something beyond calm. He was peaceful. I felt that he knew he was out of danger. He looked right up at me with one of his round black eyes. And as we made the journey to the rescue center together, I, too, felt a sense of peace.
A delightful young man met me at the door, gently took the baby bird into his experienced hands, and said with a smile: "Oh, a baby grackle." Again, the bird showed no sign whatsoever of nervousness. He tottered around a bit on the reception desk, looking slightly revived and ready to explore.
I felt grateful and blessed in that moment. Grateful for the volunteers in our community who work with our winged creatures, the rare ones and the common. Blessed that this tiny wild thing could be taken to a safe place, that he would not die of dehydration, starvation, or be crushed by a car had he fallen over the curb onto the steaming asphalt of the parking lot. I left the rescue center with a quiet, pervasive sense of peace in my being.
Then came the news. Another gunman. Another crowd. Another massacre. In a place named for dawn: Aurora.
My antidote to that news was to recall my moments with the baby bird, to feel again the peace of having been able to set something right, however small. I thought to myself: This also happened. Something peaceful, gentle, right.
I keep the towel and the box in my car just in case. Just in case I have another opportunity sometime soon to set something right and whisper under the newscast: This also happened today. This also. And it was good.
Photos by Malerapaso, iStock Photo
Text, copyright Ysabel de la Rosa, all rights reserved.