Walking back from the dumpster the other day, I happened to look down and saw a bird standing on the ground not two feet from me.
I didn’t know the species, but all wild birds usually fly away when a human approaches.
This one looked at me, glanced behind it, then back to me, but didn’t move.
Could birds carry rabies, I wondered? Not sure, I eased my nervous way toward the steps away from it. On the first landing I turned back.
It hopped a couple of times, bent over and took flight; for all of two feet.
That explained why it didn’t flee from me. It couldn’t, at least not far. I saw immediately that it didn’t have the strength to hop up, but had to fly up one step at a time, resting for as much as a minute before tackling the next one.
Was it sick? Old?
I didn’t know, but its journey took it away from me. The poor thing struggled so much; tried so hard; fought for every foot gained.
I wanted to help, but had no idea how.
If I took it into my apartment, my cat would have finished what something else started.
My thought, then was to see if I could take it to the vet just down the road.
I retrieved an old shoe box from inside my apartment, and hurried back outside.
I searched for nearly ten minutes, but couldn’t find it.
And I wanted to find it.
In the end, I could do nothing but leave the poor bird to its fate.
I’ve thought about it every day since, wondering what lesson I can take away from the experience other than the obvious. Nature can be as cruel as it can be kind.
That, I already knew.