Just as I turned into my driveway, absentmindedly reaching for the garage door opener, a black leaf-like piece of something moved in front of the door as it lumbered on its hinges. Must be a piece of garbage bag or a dead leaf blown in from the storm early this morning. My foot instinctively hit the brake prohibiting the van’s entrance into the garage because the piece of debris actually was a baby bird perched on a narrow ledge of dry pavement. On viewing a larger vista, it hopped into the warm, dry garage. I knew I couldn’t leave a bird in my garage yet I couldn’t muster the dexterity nor the desire it would take to drive this little visitor back out into the world. Watching him hop inquisitively farther back into the recesses of the garage, I reluctantly got out of the van, grumbling out loud to no one in particular.
I leaned over some empty boxes and a parked motorcycle to get a better look at this creature crouched under the tail pipe. Our eyes met, both of mine staring into a beady black eye locked on me. His feathers were black, poking out in every direction and parted from the rain to reveal flesh underneath. Even his tail was askew, turned out at a 45-degree angle from a body small enough to fit in the palm of my hand. He moved slowly away from the glove I used to swat him closer to the open garage door, stopping to look up at me again and again. Tears blurred my vision as I scolded the little damp clump of feathers, scooting it back to its dry ledge at the edge of the driveway.
An amazing thing happened at the moment my resolve was depleted and my mind formed images of late night feedings with a medicine dropper. The rain soaked creature caught sight of the larger world in front of its eyes, hesitated briefly, then flew away to a nearby bush in another yard. Even though the garage had been inviting; warm, dry, quiet, just one glimpse of the big, new world in which he had just recently tested his wings, was a stronger attraction. This decision made the difference between life and death for this new member of the earth’s family.
So it might be for us, as we face new life circumstances. Change is never welcome and sometimes the alternative looks invitingly adequate. Looking at a broader view opens up endless combinations and most likely continued life and health. Staying enfolded in a secure corner, back against the wall, looking around and not up and out, limits our ability to find healing, growth and rich new experiences.
Watching that little bird take the big leap to a nearby bush reminded me also that our resolve and actions might come in small increments…floor, to wing, to bush. This momentary stay in my garage was forgotten once his wings caught the updraft of flight and freedom. We can move at our own pace, but move we will.
by Mary Ann Adams
A harbor is a safe place for a boat but a boat is not designed to stay in a harbor. Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. Helen Keller
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