Bird Story

When I was thirteen, I found a sparrow chick fallen from its nest.

The local vet said that if you feed him raw burger on a straw he’s got a 50/50 chance of survival. I kept him in a cigar box with rags and twigs and doted on him. He thrived. When he was old enough, I taught him to fly. I'll never forget how his hurt look changed to amazement when I dropped my perch finger for the umpteenth time and he suddenly realized what his wings were for. A week and many painful mirror collisions later, he was fully fledged, so I took him outside and set him free.

He flitted off, but not too far. Talked a blue streak from an overhead branch, circled and landed, circled and landed, telling me the whole time what a freakin miracle he was experiencing. Took him half an hour to finally fly away.

A month later a crowd was gathered at the community beach as I rowed up in my canoe. There in the middle of this amazed circle of folks was my guy, holding court. A tiny little overjoyed preacher, head cocked up, chirping a mile a minute as he hopped about, addressing each one of his gathered flock in turn. I made my little call from the back of the group and he immediately shot straight up, hovered until he spotted me, then lit onto my finger.

Course I was fit to bust, being Doctor Doolittle like that. He had so many tales to tell, so much excitement and wonder that he just gushed over with.

When I rowed home, he gingerly perched on the butt of my oar as it took lazy strokes through that firelit lake and he imparted a few last thoughts which he emphasized with little nods and tilts of his head. Finally, he made some artful loops above the boat, soaring in ever bigger and higher circles until he became part of the sunset.