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It was a beautiful day in the fleeting footfall of late autumn. The air was the icy cool that late November and early December bring and the birds and the squirrels were in a feeding frenzy. I barely noticed though because all morning was spent cleaning resistant rust stains with some horrid acid cleaner with all kinds of warnings on it. And I had a low fever and was feeling kind of lousy. A phone call set the afternoon on a downward spiral. It had been an angry phone call. I had called my husband at lunch time and he was showing all the signs of extreme job stress. He was a psychiatric social worker and at times it seems all his clients act out at once and intakes happen and hospitalizations happen and whatever can go wrong, does. It was one of those kind of days. He proceeded to yell at me, for what seemed like fifteen minutes but was probably only five, about all that went wrong that day. Then suddenly the phone went dead. I called back immediately and got a fast busy signal. Tried again with the same result. And again. Tried the cell but his cell was turned off. So there was no getting through. And he had a long commute home and considering his mood and all, I was totally alarmed. I tried him on and off all afternoon and finally left a message on his cell asking him to call me. He didn’t. Until well after the time he should have left work.
“Are you still speaking to me?” he asked right away. “Yes, of course, why do you ask?” “Because I was yelling at you at lunch time.” “I know and I was wondering why but I didn’t hang up. The phone went dead.” “Okay, I am on my way home. It will take some time because I was delayed and traffic is worse at this time.” “Okay,” I said. I didn’t say my usual “Be careful!” or other worried dictums. I was just happy he had called. When I hung up the phone I thanked God he had called and he seemed to have calmed down some since lunchtime. Things were looking better than they had at midday.
And then there was the unmistakable thud on the window. I hoped in vain that it was one of the last of the falling walnuts that start to fall in October. But two feathers on the window pane left telltale marks. I was sick. We had just put up a wooden bird house with suction cups in the window above to prevent bird collisions according to the advertisement. I looked out the window on the deck for a body. None. I went outside. No bird. Such a loud thud though was unmistakable. When I turned the corner of the deck onto the lawn, sure enough, I saw the bird. He saw me and seemed too stunned to be afraid so I did a quick form of Japanese energy healing technique some of you may know as Reiki on him. Deciding my gigantic presence was probably stressing him out further I went inside. I could see him from the window. I did the symbols for distant healing and sent him the animal healing symbol. He sat there with his head resting on the ground. At least he did not have his beak open in a screech like a wounded blue jay a few months ago but things did not look good.
Now half of me comes from a Sicilian background and it is a strong strain in my psyche. My maternal grandfather was a peasant working in the stone quarries of Sicily when, at 16, he fulfilled his dream of coming to the United States. Here he wound up becoming a lawyer but only after first doing stone work to finance his night schooling. Among his carving work was the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. He was an exceptional man and I was very close to him as a little girl. His peasant background never left him. This was both good and bad. The bad, he and his wife and my mother were very superstitious. They believed in omens and signs. And this was instilled in me. Now to have this bird fly into the window just after talking to my husband about his long commute home was all too much. I argued in my mind against omens and superstitions but in my gut I was sick.
I kept checking on the bird, wondering if he was dead yet and if I should go bury him so he wouldn’t get eaten. I did more Reiki. I cried. It was not only that this poor little bird was hurt and probably going to die but what he represented. The birds had been in a feeding frenzy these past few days. I had just refilled the bird feeder yesterday and it was half empty not even 24 hours later. And it was bird central. Birds flying like kamikaze planes all over the front yard. When I went to fill the bird feeder a bird stayed on eating to the very last minute, unafraid of my approach. And as soon as I put the feeder back up in the tree he was back, not even waiting for me to leave. It was no wonder there was an accident.
I went back to the window to check the bird again. His head had been resting on the ground and things definitely did not look good! But, did I see his head up now? Yes, he had lifted up his head and he was moving his head right and left and up and down. I prayed in desperation. And I kept watching feeling guardedly hopeful. And next thing I knew he took to the air and flew to the swamp somewhere lost to my eyes. I was ecstatic. I got down on my knees and thanked God. This was truly a miracle. In my pessimism and superstition that I must battle with it seems daily I have lost all faith in miracles. But miracles do happen. The guy at work who was on death’s door after collapsing outside the library and wound up having cancer, was now fully tumor free and working out at the gym. Another miracle. People and birds don’t always die even when things look their bleakest. Sometimes there are miracles. And my husband came home safe and sound and apologized to me and was happy to be home. Sometimes, too, there are happy endings.
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Welcome to samples of my writing and art work showcasing “Eye-locks and Other Fearsome Things.” “Eye-locks” is a Bipolar/Asperger’s memoir in narrative form that describes the triumph of love over mental illness.
December 9, 2022 | Categories: Animal & Landscape Photographs, Animal Columns & Poems, Marital life, Nature Columns, Nature Photography, Winter Trees | Tags: Bad days, Birds, Birds in late Fall, Clinical Social Workers, Happy endings, Hurt birds, Italian heritage, Late Fall, Marital disputes, Marital life, Miracles, Superstition | 13 Comments