Monday, July 11, 2011

Wildlife Rescue

Cloudy with rain off and on.  55 degrees.  Wind is still this evening.

     July on the shore of Bear Lake can be a flurry.  The green plants are sprawling to engulf all the land and half the water.   Devil's club and poochki leaves spread and cover all the ground under the trees.  The fireweed is starting to bloom and, out on the lake, the lilly pads and horsetail are starting elbow for space on the lake surface.  The sky is busy with gulls, eagles, kingfishers and dashing among the others like little fighter planes are the swallows.
     Entering the boat barn for set of channel locks and a crescent wrench yesterday, I was distracted by a rattle and a rustle of noise coming for the somewhere around the barn.  What on earth is that noise?, I wondered.  The dogs were next door with Madelyn while she tended one of her planter boxes.  The two choices I thought of were a bear or a Steller's jays.  Younger Stellers jays are notoriously precocious and are intrigued by many of the wonderful thing s that people bring to their world.   I crept out the door and around to be back of the barn to find the source of the noise.  I found nothing then heard the noise again.  This time it was clearly coming from loft of the barn and I headed for the ladder.  Half way up the ladder, I could solve the mystery.
     A small bird was flying at the skylight, trying to reach the open sky beyond this invisible barrier.  It was a hummingbird, hovering on wing before the apparent opening struggling to break through to the waiting sky clearly visible above.   I wonder at the how such animals can do so much yet can be so overcome by a challenge like this.  How long had this bird been trying to solve this puzzle; how long would it try before solution or fatigue would out?   I could not wait to make such a study, I could not but think of this tiny desperate heart, so persistent, so desperate.   The bird seemed unaware as I approached, as it hummed against the skylight, so I could reach out and take it into my hand, so tiny I could completely enclose it safely in my fist.  I could feel the pounding heart that I held within my grip, literally within my grip, my fingers wrapped around this life hoping I was not crushing wings and feathers and bone, not crushing the life I was trying to save.  And so I descended the ladder and out the barn door to the open air the bird sought so desperately, and there I tentatively opened my hand hoping that little green-backed being could, and did lift from my hand and hum away to into the trees and sky.  I was left alone to wonder at that brief time holding wild life in my hand.

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