Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am Weird

The other day my daughter was on a hunger rampage. (The kind where you continually reopen the fridge and cupboards in the hope that food will magically appear.) On her fourth opening of the freezer I heard her shout, "There is nothing to eat in this house... and all there is in the freezer is a dead baby bird!!"
Yes, it is true. Wrapped in maroon tissue paper, and then in a sealed plastic bag, is a tiny, frozen, dead baby bird.
Yes, I have been told I am weird.

Last Saturday morning I went on a walk. My eye is always scanning the ground for interesting things: bugs, leaves, seed pods, sticks, things to not trip on. I could see a small mound on the sidewalk as I approached and I knew just what it was. I have a history of finding dead baby birds. And when I find them, they break my heart!
This bird had only gray fuzz, small wing buds, a bulbous head and a scrawny neck. He couldn't just stay there. Carefully, using a stiff leaf, I scooped the bird up and set him in the grass. Later, I came back with my car. This time I used two large flashcards to transfer the bird to the tissue paper I mentioned earlier...then the plastic bag...then the freezer.
I will bury the bird...soon.

I tried. I tried hard to NOT get in the car. Why would I? That is gross. The bird is dead. Let a cat eat it. "Don't be a weirdo," I heard myself say. But I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't leave the dead baby bird.
Later I thought about what I had done and why. Someone asked if I would do the same thing for a dead cat and I said, "NO!"
If for one, then why not the other?
My only answer is this: we all have some job - the job of a keeper, or a noticer. They are tiny jobs where the work often goes unnoticed, but they leave us with a sense of connectedness. For instance, as a mom it could be the way we make sure our kids are warm, or the way we check to make sure they are still breathing when they are newborn. As a friend, it could be the small gestures we extend so the ones we love don't go unnoticed. As a human, and in these brief lives we are given, the job may be to donated blood, time and/or money to those in need.
Beyond all of those, there are even more minute jobs: watching the sky, noticing someone's smile, observing a praying mantis, holding a sleeping baby, relishing in a sunrise...or being the keeper of dead baby birds.

I am going to keep my job; even if that means I am weird.

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