Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How To Save A Life

On the way in to Lunardi's today, I saw what looked like an iridescent green lump in front of the entry doors.

A man coming out said "I think it's a hummingbird."  We guessed that it had flown into the glass doors and stunned itself.  It wasn't dead, but it wasn't lively, either.  And it wasn't even trying to fly.

I was afraid he would get stepped on.  I was afraid he would die, and that would break my heart.  The man standing with me was afraid to touch him. 

So I scooped the bright green body into my hands.  He didn't try to get away.  He didn't even flutter as I scooped him off the sidewalk.  It was a cold day, so, with my fingers cupped around his tiny body, I began to exhale gently on him to warm him up.  

After a few minutes of soft steady warm breaths, he began to squirm, so I opened my hands.  He fluttered in my palm, moving so slowly I could see each tiny wingbeat.  After a minute and with a good deal of struggle, he managed to fly to my shoulder, then he just sat there.  

I didn't want him to get cold.  I didn't want him to die.  He didn't want to fly.  So I scooped him back into my hands and exhaled some more.

When I could feel his tiny wings beating against my palms again, I opened my hands.  He stopped struggling and sat quietly on my palm.  A part of me wanted to take him home and take care of him forever, but I know wild things are happier in the wild, so I reached up and held my hand next to a low tree branch that was in the sun.  He clung to my finger, and I had to nudge him onto the branch.  He just sat there looking at me.  I backed away, I went into the store.  Wild things need privacy.

When I came back he was gone.  I looked around the base of the tree to make sure he hadn't fallen.  I looked all around the entry to be sure he hadn't flown into the glass again, or fallen after a short flight.

I looked up in the sky to say good bye, and be careful. 
 A part of my heart flew away with him.

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