I hesitated about writing this post, because it has a bittersweet ending. But life is sometimes bittersweet, sad, and unpredictable. Here is how it all began:It is past midnight and we are retiring for the night when we hear an odd scratching noise that seems to be coming from inside our wall. After investigating the area to no avail, I decide to go outside to see if the wind is causing branches to scrape against the house. James is very sick with flu, so I go outside with my flashlight and shine it up towards our bedroom where I see the source of the sound immediately. A little bird seems to be caught in the twisted dried out wisteria vines that have traveled up the side of the house, right next to the electrical cables, I might add. The bird is flapping it's wings forcefully to no avail with skinny legs splayed sideways. I dash upstairs and tell James a bird is stuck in the vines, I will need the ladder! I don't tell him I will need the extension ladder AND will need to stand on the very top rung. He tells me to stay away from the electrical cords and DON'T use the extension ladder. But of course, I do.
At first I try to dislodge the vines with the handle of a broom, no dice. So I discard my bathrobe and begin my accent higher up the ladder in my nightgown with a flashlight on my head and the pruners in my hand. In order to reach the bird, I have to travel to the top step on the ladder.
(Bathrobe still here the next morning)I am able to assess the situation. The bird has it's little head stuck betwixt and between dried, knotted vines of wisteria, the vines seems to be strangling the poor little thing. If I cut that vine in just the right place it should dislodge the bird and allow it to fly off. but when I cut the vine, the little bird tumbles into my hand. I slowly descend the ladder holding the bird in a loose grip. I hope to open my palm and release her when we get to the ground, but she seems unable to fly, instead she falls to the earth, so I bring her up to my studio. Here in the light I can see that I am holding an adult starling. Esther was a baby starling. I put her in a safe place with water and chicken scratch. Poor little thing is exhausted, who knows how long she had been imprisoned in the vines?!
The next morning I see she is hopping about the room on one leg and dragging the other. I sit on the floor and offer a kernel of corn, she hops over and takes it from my fingers and then she hops on my arm!
It is odd that a wild bird would be so obliging... Could it be possible? NAW, this can't be Esther, can it? It's been two years since I set free the little starling fledgling that I raised for months, after it had been attacked by a mad mother hen who poked it's eye and broke it's wing. If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will remember my sweet Esther. Esther was still young when she flew off to freedom, and had not yet acquired the beautiful flecked feathers with iridescent highlights.
I talk softly to this sweet bird and she falls asleep in my hand. For the rest of the day, I leave her in the studio, checking her condition regularly.
She seems to be recuperating and is sitting on the window sill... then she falls off and onto the floor. I carefully pick her up and turn on some nice music. I always played music for Esther and she would sing her little head off. This little bird turns her head and faintly chirps, once.
Is it possible that for the last 2 years my little Esther has lived her life in the treetops right above my head? Watching from the branches as I garden below her? Building nests and raising babies and observing us all this time? Or am I just being silly?
I am beginning to feel an emotional tie to the little creature, When she is healed I will be sad to let her go...but I will. Alas, I did not get the chance, for the next time I checked on her she was stretched out on the floor, little legs stiff. Sure that she was dead, I tearfully held her and she began to move about. For 15 minutes she lay in my palm, slowly moving her head, faintly fluttering a wing, then she opened wide her beak, she stretched her little body full length .... and died. DID I cry?? Of course I did. Big. wet teardrops that fell on her feathers.
My head says that this was not Esther, I mean, what are the chances?! And if it was Esther, it will mean she really is gone forever. But my heart tells me this was Esther. And as fanciful as that may seem, it would be fitting for the little bird who spent the first months of her life with me as her mama, should spend the last moments of her life with me as her comforter. Perhaps I am just a romantic.. but I am, after all, a storyteller. And I am glad she did not die alone up in the treacherous vines that held her captive for God knows how long, but she died with a friend who cared about her.
I'm sorry for the sad post on this day, I promise to be more joyous the next time.. but I thought you would want to know.