In the spring of 2000, my 3 children and I were home on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon following Carolyn's golf lesson, Meghan's piano recital, and the completion of Jamie's homework project for English. I had hired a landscape company to take on the task of cutting my lawn that season, as I knew the myriad tasks of assisting my children in meeting their responsibilities would be daunting.
The doorbell rang, and the landscape crew stood at my door. One of the boys was holding a tiny bird, his hand stretched forward for me to see as his eyes questioned my response. "We found him before the mower got him...we don't think he can fly."
I carefully took the baby bird, warmed it within my enclosed palms, and thanked my lawn crew for bringing it to me. They looked relieved that I had taken the burden of the tiny bird from them, and left.
I placed the bird in a cage, built by my mom, complete with a nest I had salvaged after a rainstorm knocked it to the ground. I attempted to feed the baby, but it was clear that my dietary selection of water, bread and worms was not at all appetizing to him. I set the baby bird in the nest, inside the cage on my back porch, while contemplating what to do.
I remember the discouraging words of the lawn crew as they left my house and the few friends I frantically called for advice, "forget about it debi, just let him be."
Over the next few days, an amazing thing happened.
A brightly colored, yellow male finch began swooping down close to the cage and making all kinds of remarkably loud noises. The baby, quiet until this point, began making unusually loud noises in return. I took the cage, with the baby still inside, to an open area in my backyard and just watched. I will never forget what I saw next. The adult male finch landed on top of the cage, screetching loudly, and began feeding the baby bird through the openings of the wired cage.
This scene replayed every 2 hours over the next 3 days. At dusk, all activity stopped, and I would bring the baby onto my porch for warmth and a good night's sleep. At dawn, the feedings resumed.
My children and I watched this connection between the brightly colored adult male bird and its' baby for three days, with incredulous awe, quietly and from a distance. Meghan's friends would stop by, and we invited them to watch. My mom and sister, Carol, could not believe that this was happening, as they stood by to see. At the end of the third day, I held the baby bird one last time, placed him on top of the cage, and watched him fly up into a nearby tree with his dad.
And then I cried, for a really long time. I felt so sad that the baby bird was gone, and so simultaneously happy that he had made it, and was able to fly away with his family. But even more, I had experienced something very special, along with my children, their friends, and my family. Life stopped as I knew it, with all it's busy stuff. I relinquished all control, listened to a bigger and wiser voice, and... I just let it be...