I fell in love with a baby bird.
We found a nestling inca dove in a six foot pygmy palm tree in our backyard. Sadly, he shared his small space with an undeveloped sibling already gone from this world.
I dutifully and carefully removed the deceased hatchling from the tiny nest and laid it to rest. Then, despite research indicating all would be fine, I waited nervously for the parents to return. I fretted over my intervention and began to question whether letting my big heart and good intentions guide me had been the absolutely wrong thing to do. After an agonizing wait, the parents arrived, back on the scene. And all was well.
I spent the next week in the throes of new love, adoring every wiggle and wobble, as each provided new angles of cuteness to delight in, photograph and share. I bounded out of bed each morning to check on my little friend, who I named Meep.
I talked to Meep. I sang to Meep. I photographed Meep. I researched Meep's Inca Dove-ness. I checked in on Meep at first light, right before bed and at many points in between.
I shared aloud my concerns that while Meep's parents had crafted an amazingly sturdy abode which stood strong in whipping winds that assaulted the pygmy palm, I felt unsure about it's proximity to our swimming pool. I had visions of little Meep, preparing to fledge, only to fling himself directly into the deep end of the water. My beloved Mister seemingly ignored me. He had ignored all my baby bird antics, having himself just suffered the loss of our feline friend of twenty-two, Gracie. Understandably he carried a weary heart.
Regardless, I came home a few days later to find a small barrier of landscaping pavers placed at the water's edge around the tree that housed Meep's nest. My heart expanded at this simple act of love. Macho Mister will tell you he did it since he knew he'd never hear the end of it, had my concerns come to fruition. But "Pah!" I say to that. A good heart in action is not so easy to hide.
One afternoon, upon my third daily check-in, I found that dear Meep had died. It was terribly sad. I mourned. I groused. It was a suck-filled day.
Then, I set out to create a beautiful ritual to honor my friend. I removed him from the nest and placed him in a beautiful bag filled with offerings and small treasures. I sang to him some more. I found a spot and laid him to rest. I cleansed the nest and tree with smoke as I sent prayers for Meep's travels and sent love to his parents who watched me from the block wall fence ten feet away.
I did these things as if they mattered. Because. It. Did. Matter. I have never been trained in baby bird death rites for Pete's Sake, but I followed my heart, I used what I knew and what I had. I found a way to be of service.
It does matter. All that we do ~ large and small ~ How we show up ~ What we choose to bring our skills and knowledge to ~ Where we decide to jump in and expand and develop our gifts and tools.
After a week of turf wars with another mourning dove couple over the vacant nest, Meep's parents successfully defended their creation and today, Meep's Mom is back in the nest, undoubtedly doting on another brood. I peak in on her everyday from a safe distance and tell her how happy I am she is here and what a good job she is doing.
And, I've since learned from a friend who is an Inca Dove rescuer (I know… I know… how serendipitous is that?) Meep was probably never going to make it for long as he hadn't opened his eyes, which I did not know at the time is not a good sign. I just kept waiting for the day when they would open. And they never did.
This realization makes me feel all the better for my involvement with this bird. Meep's life was destined to be short. He was never going to leave the nest and develop into the bird-in-flight he was coded to become. BUT his time here was celebrated and he was cared about and cared for and THAT is a grand life indeed.
As I shared pictures on Facebook of his beak aglow in the sunlight, friends joked about Meep being an illuminator and one who lights the way.
Thank you Meep for lighting the way for me to be in service to you and thus a lesson in being of service in greater and greater ways.
Truly, you never know how or when you'll be called to serve.
#meeplove forever! Suzanne