By Bob Perks
There seemed very little I could do for it. I thought for sure it was injured. It was just last week I discovered another small sparrow in our yard. That one looked ill and could barely get off the ground. The one I found today looked perfectly content just sitting there at my feet.
I am beginning to feel like "Doctor Doolittle," the fictional character who could "talk to the animals." Ever since discovering my frog wanted to have a conversation with me, it appears that many of the animals that visit us these days feel right at home with me.
I am glad.
Last week a Robin sat in the middle of the road near my home. I couldn’t just drive by it. I stopped and gently nudged it onto the grassy side far enough away from the road to let it die peacefully. I stayed until I knew it wasn’t going any where. It nested itself in the high grass and looked content and grateful to me.
Two days latter, as I was taking my dogs out, a small sparrow startled me as it nearly landed on my head. A closer look at the bird revealed that it was seriously ill. I tried to capture it to protect it from the all too many local cats that wander through my yard at night. It scurried under the deck before I could get to it.
The lattice which lines the bottom part of the deck was all that stood between it and myself. I knew there was nothing I could do. So I settled for the sad fact of life that birds die eventually and there was nothing I could do to prevent it.
Yesterday was another story.
This small, beautiful sparrow flew right in front of me landing on the rocks that surround our small pond. As Ricky and Lucy headed into the yard I stayed to watch the bird. Of course I began talking to it, which spurred the frog to get in the conversation.
"No, I’m not talking to you, my froggy friend. We have been visited by a Sparrow," I said.
The bird flew right across in front of me landing on the lilac bush within reach.
I walked right up to it expecting that it would fly away. It didn’t. In fact, it came closer.
"What’s wrong little bird?" I asked.
It hopped back and forth a few times and finally came to rest. I can remember talking to my parakeets, finches and such through the years. They would get "puffed up" as I called it, raising their feathers until they looked like a ball of fur. Blinking his eyes, opening and closing his mouth a few times, he appeared to be happy. I reached my hand up close enough to nearly touch him. It never moved.
I spoke to it for a few minutes and then headed into the house.
A few hours later, I returned to the yard. Ricky went ripping up the path toward the bird feeders. The birds always fly away and he goes on ahead in search of a rabbit to chase. This time he stopped in his tracks. About a foot away from him was the Sparrow.
"Ricky, No!" I shouted. He froze in place like a trained pointer.
As I got closer I could see what appeared to be the same bird now sitting quite comfortably on the ground surrounded by bird seed. He tilted his head and looked up at me as I knelt down next to him. With that same "puffed up" look, he seemed quite happy to see me again. This time I extend my hand and actually picked him up. He didn’t struggle. I thought for sure then, that he was ill.
One of the great pleasures in life for me is to get in touch with animals in the wild. To hold a Sparrow, to touch a deer, to hold a new born rabbit, keeps me connected to the spirit of nature, My own spirit and the very essence of life.
So what was happening to me? Was God blessing me with these gifts at this point in my life or have the opportunities been there all along and I am just learning to appreciate them?
Suddenly the Sparrow I was holding jumped to its feet and flew off. I checked several times later that day and the next morning. Never to see the bird again.
The old cliché to "Stop and smell the roses" falls short of the real need for all of us to slow down.
I have spent most of my life in the slow lane stopping to watch the world rush by. Yes, I have struggled with the feeling of being left behind as I watched so many friends hurry toward their goals in life.
Oddly enough, in recent years I have come across a few of them lying there lost along side the highway to wealth and happiness. No, they weren’t helping a crippled Robin. They themselves gave up on the journey, with wings broken and the will to fly high dashed by the storms of life.
Yes, I stopped to speak to them, too. But unlike the Sparrow, they would not listen to what I had to say.
So, I moved slowly on ahead, stopping to help a dying Robin, talk to a frog, and make friends with a Sparrow.
Because of that, I now realize that I have, in fact, become more successful in life than all of those on the road ahead of me.
How do I know?
"A little bird told me!"
"I believe in You!"