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June 4th, 2018

This fleeting, floating world

Dad and I got back from our walk with the dog to find a baby bird lying helpless on the ground beside the garage. The wings hadn’t formed yet, and the yellow beak looked huge on the chick’s tiny head. It was still breathing, its little bald body swelling and contracting with each gasping breath.

Dad gently scooped it up in his palm while I brought the step ladder from the garage. Above where we found the bird a hole gaped in the garage eaves, with a few nest twigs visible. Between us we managed to place the tiny creature back in but we could tell the nest wasn’t strong enough to keep him there. Using an old sock and glove salvaged from the garage, Dad tucked them around the side of the nest to temporarily reinforce it. The chick seemed stable so we backed off, taking the step ladder with us. Not long after, from the window I witnessed an adult bird near the nest with a worm in its beak. I felt so good to think we had rescued her baby, but it was short lived.

After I went out to do some shopping, Dad decided to cut back some errant fronds of ivy from the side of the house. When he came out he found that three chicks had fallen from the nest. The sock and glove were still in place in the nest so we don’t know what happened. This time they were too injured to be rescued and Dad was forced to end their suffering. The adult bird never returned and when I came back we buried the wee mites in a shady corner of the garden. It was heartbreaking.

Another reminder of how fragile life is. I’m not saying live today as though you might fall to the hard ground tomorrow … but perhaps too much time is spent ruing yesterday and anticipating tomorrow. It’s the here and now that’s important ... the Buddhist interpretation of Ukiyo, the floating world.

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