Max is much better. Still a bit of coughing and his appetite isn’t very good. Watching him in distress this week created a flood of memories about other pets I’ve had. Strangely, a memory of my earliest experience with the fragility of life kept coming to mind.
Death wants me to know
Never forget or ignore
The meaning of life
Back in the “olden days” when it was safe for kids to walk to school on their own I would find newborn birds that had fallen 20 – 30 feet out of their nests located in the huge palm trees which lined our street. I would gingerly carry them home, afraid that the very movement of walking would traumatize them.
My mother would patiently put the baby bird in a box lined with cotton towels and feed it with an eyedropper. Most didn’t even have fuzz, much too young to survive, but I knew my mother could do almost anything . . . except, as I learned, keep the babies alive.
Each year I walked that street it became painfully more difficult. I was told that if a human touched the baby bird the mother bird would not want it. It never occurred to me that the mother bird couldn’t possibly carry its baby back to the nest high up in the palm. It never occurred to me that the baby had sustained injury in the fall. All I knew was a life was in peril.
It grew to be an excruciating decision: Pick the baby up and ensure it would be rejected by the mother; Leave it on the ground for the mother to find and be found first by a cat; or take it home to watch it die. I always took the baby home.