Published October 15, 2023

A Bird in the Hand 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
(Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

A Slice of Life

Sometimes what seems to be a small, insignificant slice of life has a much greater meaning than first realized. I offer the following example. 

A few days ago, I noticed my dog was paying an unusual amount of attention to a small pond in my backyard. Curious, I went outside to see what had captured her attention. 

A small bird, apparently a young of the year, had fallen into the pond. It was using its tiny wings to pull itself from one side of the pond to the other but couldn’t climb out. While the bird was able to keep out of reach of my very curious dog, it didn’t from me. I picked the bird up and cupped it in my hands. 

Only the tiny head was visible when I showed the bird to my dog, who sniffed it a bit and then looked me in the eye as if to say, “now what?” 

The bird was wet, soggy, and cold. It had probably been in the water for quite some time. I took it into the house and dried it off as best I could. The little fellow never fussed or resisted. We got along simply fine. 

After holding him for several minutes to warm him up I sensed that any fear the bird had of me had vanished. Having a few other things to do, I thought I’d put my thinking to the test. So, I gently placed the bird in a potted plant that was in a window with plenty of warm sunshine. There, I reasoned, he could continue his recovery from his chilly ordeal. 

I left the room, but not for long. I got to thinking that having a bird loose in the house wasn’t one of my better ideas. Returning to the potted plant, I once again picked up the bird. This time, I thought, I’d keep it in my cupped hands until it had sufficiently recovered enough to return to the outdoors. 

There I was, seated on the couch, tiny bird in hand, and watching television news which was all about terrorist actions in Israel. I looked at the bird, looked at the pictures and video on the television, and listened to accounts of atrocities committed. 

Looking at the bird again, who was looking at me, I wondered if those who kill out of pure hatred for others would kill the bird, or rescue a deer tangled in a fence, or a horse stuck in deep mud. 

I took the bird outside and placed it on the lawn where the sun was shining and where I could check on it every few minutes by looking out a window. When it hadn’t moved after an hour or so I went outside to check on him again. 

This time he chirped at me, hopped and flitted away, then hopped back and let me pick him up again, actually hopping into my hand. After a few minutes I opened my hands. The bird stood up, chirped a few times, and then flew into a nearby tree. I went back in the house and shut off the television news. 

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