For those of you who follow me on Facebook (and if you don’t, follow me at @letgoforit, stat!), you know that my husband and I had quite the Saturday adventure. After our usual delicious weekend breakfast at our friend Claudine Schuster’s Back to the 50s Diner (where we go as a ritual every weekend), we came home to find a box on our doorstep that said: “You have a wounded bird in your bushes.” At first, I was deeply offended, until I realized that we actually did have a wounded bird–a morning dove, to be exact–in our bushes. As we peeked in, we could see the bird was hugging the ground, it’s left wing clearly injured and bleeding.
I did what I usually do in this situation: Called my neighbor and human woobie Christine Passarelli. Dan did what he normally does: Panicked (bless his heart). Then, I sprang into action, letting go of whatever else we had planned for the day, and calling the emergency vet to find out what to do. My husband wanted to immediately scoop the bird up and bring it into the house to care for it and turn our second bedroom into a bird sanctuary … that’s another post entirely.
They told us to take the wounded bird to Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center near our house. While Dan tried to get the wounded bird out from behind the deep thick of bushes that line the outside of our front window ((no easy feat as it kept shimmying away; the bird wasn’t flying, but the expletives sure were…), I thanked the universe that we’d had the good sense to stop to get me a latte and gently sipped away at it while pondering our next move. For me, it would be to find a shoebox to transport the bird to the wildlife facility. Fortunately for “Freeda” (what we named the bird, you’ll learn why in a moment), I always have a steady stream of new shoes coming to the house. More proof that new shoes are always a good idea! So I was able to put my hands on a top-of-the-line box in a jiffy. I swiftly removed the pair of new fleece-lined leather mules (they’re fabulous) I’d gotten from Free People (hence “Free-da”) and prepared it with paper towels. Then, I applied some fresh lipstick, which is always critical in an emergency situation, and head back outside where Dan gently placed Freeda into the box and cut some “windows” into the top. Freeda would travel in style!
By now, Christine had come out of her house to see if I’d accidentally butt dialed her. Upon seeing the wounded bird, she quickly sprang into action – doing Body Talk, a form of energy healing, on the animal to calm it down. Let me just say: This wounded bird dropped from the sky into the right bushes, because while she was doing body talk, Dan was giving the bird Reiki. Made me wonder how I could drop into the bushes, but again, a post for another time.
Anyway, after about 15 minutes, we got in the car and drove the wounded dove to the Aark, where I’m super glad we just missed a woman who’d brought in a few wounded baby rats. We gave them a $20 donation, filled out a form, and got a phone and case number so we could check on her progress. Which we did, about six hours later. I will admit: I waited so long because I wanted to live in the belief that we’d saved a life. Given all the crazy things going on in the world around me–a hectic full-time day job and robust side hustle, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires, a misguided President, a confused democracy, too much bad news on cable, busy season at work, holes outside of the seams in my favorite yoga pants, a sinking metabolism, and too many lipsticks in all the same colors (why don’t I just toss my money out an open window?…don’t answer that)–life was starting to become dark. I needed some lightness. A happy ending. To let go of some built-up breath. And so, I put it all on Freeda. Spent six hours transferring all of my exhaustion and dismay onto her fragile little back, convincing myself that she’d pull through. (Was Freeda me?) Even though I knew, the odds weren’t good. After all, I saw that wing. It was bloody.
When I finally did muster up the courage to call Aark for a progress report, I got the news I knew in my gut would be true, but had hoped wouldn’t happen: Her wing had simply taken on too much damage; it was broken and punctured all the way through. And there was no saving her. Despite our collective best efforts, Freeda had gone to the big bird sanctuary in the, uh, sky (okay, you know). She was gone. And I felt sad. Sad enough to cry. Clearly an overreaction. Because while I care about animals as much as the next person, I was also exhausted. It made me wonder: Maybe Freeda showed up to give me a reason to exhale. She was the proverbial straw. The mirror I’d needed to let go and let down.
One of my followers — a lovely woman who wrote to me after she saw my TEDx talk — commented on my post: “It was time for [Freeda] to fly with different wings, those special wings we all get when we leave the matter and reunite with the universe. You guys were her gate to enter that realm.”
Maybe I needed a moment to reflect, recharge, and reconnect with the universe myself? Perhaps that’s why Freeda (who I also learned after talking to the woman at Aark, should have been a “Fred”) showed up in that exact moment. Maybe she was a sign. I’ll never know for sure, of course, but I do know that cry was long overdue. And it felt good. I’m not happy it came on the back of Freeda’s wings or anybody’s, but perhaps in sacrificing hers, she gave me back some wingspan of my own.
Sometimes that’s how it happens. The unexpected hits you right where and when you need it most. Some Saturdays just don’t turn out like you’d planned. Instead, something drops clear out from under the clouds and lands in your front yard, waking you up to whatever’s been laying dormant inside your own gut. I say let it bring out the full orchestra of your emotions. Let go for it. You’ll feel better. I know I did.