Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Just a Pigeon"

As I rounded the bend on my way home from errands, I saw her. A pigeon. In the scrub on the side of the road. Dragging her wing.

I drove past, cursing under my breath. Pain, there's always an animal in pain. I hate it, and wanted to pretend I didn't just see what I thought I saw.

Of course immediately I regretted my decision, so I turned around to investigate more. "Maybe she just had her wing flared for a moment.... maybe it's not really broken" I hoped.

In the moments it took to get back to her, she had run quite a bit, and was now picking at berries in the scrub. She was so pretty with her iridescent bands of green and violet. I think she's a racing pigeon, I'm not sure. She was larger than she looked when I first noticed her too.

I pulled off the road, started the flashers, and got out walking towards her. She was well aware of my presence, and not happy about that. She began to move further away. A man was working nearby and observing. I called out to him "do you think it's broken?" He says "definitely." "Should I go for it?" He says "you'll never get her, besides she's just a pigeon." My heart sank.

I gave her enough space so as not to panic her, and went back to the car for a large towel. Then I made my way walking slowly down the street. She soon begin to panic despite my best efforts, and  tried to fly. Instead she tumbled head over. Heartbreaking.

At that moment she essentially became cornered against a low row of coral rocks. That was my moment, and I took advantage of the few seconds. I threw the towel. Miss. She began to run along the low row of rocks, I only had one more chance... throw the towel... perfect landing. She immediately calmed down. I removed my sweatshirt and double hooded her. She was perfectly calm. After I made sure her wings were not trapped awkwardly, I gently picked her up and carried her back to my car. The same man still watched. "You got her!" "Yes. Yes, I did." "Good for you."

Moments ago that man said she was "just a pigeon" but somehow now he mercifully had a change of heart. "I got a number for the bird lady if you need it." "Thank you, I've got it." "Good luck" he said and off I drove down the street with "just a pigeon" as my passenger.

I had to go back to the house because my cell phone wasn't with me. As I rounded a bend on my street, I saw a car at a pull off site that I thought was the bird lady.... looked just like hers. I made the decision to pull off the road and walk through the path to the ocean where she might be. I didn't have the right shoes, and I didn't want to leave the pigeon by herself but after a quick moment's consideration, I thought the best thing was to try and find the bird lady if she was already on my street.

I took the walk through the path. The tidal flats were muddy. I kept walking anyway. I took a wrong turn.... I ended up walking parallel along the road, instead of going towards the ocean where the bird lady might be. Time mattered, I was not out there for a nature walk, but there I was anyway. The sky was bright blue, the sun felt like a summer sun, the terrain was much wetter than normal for this time of year, and everything smelled very earthy. Butterflies were absolutely everywhere, and I heard several cardinals chirping in the mangroves. I wished I had my camera, but knew I couldn't stop for pictures anyway, time was of the essence. After 1/2 hour of wandering and not finding the bird lady, I made a decision to go home and call her. My attempt to locate her was futile, I obviously was off course, and time was ticking.

The day had been so beautiful earlier, I decided to go back out early evening to take pictures.
Instead the sky had clouded over.
The butterflies were all gone.
No deer were lurking behind the mangroves.
No cardinals tweeted to me.
No shore birds waded the flats.
Everything was different, yet again.
The little bird was still in the car, very quiet. No cooing, no murmuring, nothing. She was absolutely terrified, and I'm sure in quite a bit of pain. One minute eating berries in the scrub on the side of the road, the next moment wrapped in strange things in a car, all the while thinking "I need to fly away." It must have been very confusing, and very terrifying.

This was part of what I walked through when I tried to find the bird lady.
It seemed so much brighter and hopeful when the sun was shining earlier in the day.

The call was made, and the transport done. I was not very optimistic, but to my surprise the other happy vegan (he made the transport for me) said that on arrival the bird lady said "I think she will be ok, I think I can help her." Ironically, as the other happy vegan was leaving, she also said something that struck me.... "some people would say she's just a pigeon, but here she matters."

I'm on the side with those who says she matters.