I wasn’t going to say anything about this. But then, this morning, it happened again.
A tiny warbler flew into our screen door. I watched as it bounced off, and landed on the deck. I ran out to check on the bird to find it disoriented, and cold, and lying on its back. Of course, I thought the worst. Perhaps it was just a baby, so tiny I could enclose my hand around it. I picked it up, and held it so it could absorb the warmth of my hand. It finally stirred. I couldn’t help whispering to it, coaching it to heal. I brought it into the warm house, then sat, doing nothing but holding the little bird until it fell asleep in my hands.
Minutes went by. The little bird awoke. It seemed alert, so we took it outside, hoping it would fly. I pulled my right hand away, so it sat, unhindered in my left. But it wouldn’t leave. I put it down on the deck; its feathers puffed out against the cold. So, I picked her up again. This time, she clamped her feet around my finger. It was an odd, magical feeling: this little tiny bird, trusting me. David was fascinated. He tried to prompt her to fly by gently nudging her from behind. She held on tight to my finger. He put his finger in front of her, but she wouldn’t leave mine.
She stayed so long, in fact, that we were able to snap some pictures. Then, without warning, she took off and flew to a nearby tree without issue.
But that’s not the whole story.
Exactly one month ago, to the day, I was walking by my neighbor’s open garage when I heard the strange gonging of something striking metal. I stopped, turned, and heard it again. It was coming from inside the front of the garage, from a potting table against a large picture window.
When I got closer, I could see a small yellow warbler flying up against that window, trying to get out. I squeezed my upper body under the top shelf and extended my arm to reach the little bird. I really couldn’t see what I was doing, so I hoped things would go well. Surprisingly, they did.
I gently closed my hand around the sweet, tiny thing. It was so small only its head was visible in the hole formed by my partially open fist. I marveled at how it wasn’t panicking, or thrashing, or crapping in my hand. My neighbor came out just in time to witness the treasure I had found in her garage.
Now, out in the yard, I put my right hand under my left, and let the warbler rest on it. I pulled my left hand away. It sat there, calmly, for about two minutes. It seemed unusually comfortable, as if it was content against the warmth of my skin. Just as my neighbor made it back with her camera, the little warbler decided it was time to go, and before a photo could be taken, the bird was gone.
It seemed a wonder that I was allowed to not only catch the bird but cradle it for so long. It made me think of all the gifts Mother Nature gives us, every day, that we take for granted: the chipmunks, the dragonflies, the birds, the leaves rustling in the wind, and even the clouds. Holding that bird felt like magic…a gift, indeed.
Copyright K. S. Brooks 2010