Walking into work this morning, I found a little bird standing on the sidewalk, just swaying in the cool breeze. It seemed dazed, so I decided to check on it. I eased up on it, expecting it to fly away; but it didn’t even twitch. I thought the little thing had surely died standing up. So I reached down and picked it up. It was definitely alive and even alert, and it promptly moved around in my hand so it could wrap its feet around one of my fingers. It almost seemed pet-like – not afraid of me at all. Its little head was covered with cobwebs, so I determined that it may have gotten caught in a web somewhere and fought its way free or may have smacked one of my building’s dirty windows.
Once I realized it was alive, I set it down next to a tree trunk and walked into my building. I set my things down at my desk and got settled but couldn’t stop thinking about the little thing and how helpless it seemed. People walk their dogs in this area, and I couldn’t stand the thought of this little creature being a pet’s snack. So I decided to go check on it once again. There it was – still standing beside the tree trunk where I set it several minutes earlier. Its eyes were closed, and it was swaying in the breeze once again. I reached down to pick it up, and it assumed the position on my finger as it had earlier. It was very alert and kept looking at me but made no attempt to fly off. It was so very sweet!
Down in the River Market area in Little Rock, there are huge planters full of a variety of flowers along the sidewalks. The tops of the planters are waist-high, so I decided that under all of that foliage would be a safe place for my new little friend to hide. I thought if it needed to rest that would be the best place. Before setting it down, I scratched its little head and chest for a few minutes and watched it close its eyes. It really had no fear whatsoever – or was too exhausted to care. After a few minutes, I tried setting it down on the dirt in the planter. I expected it to jump off of my hand when close to the dirt, but it never did. So I picked it up with my other hand and set it down. It gave a little hop once it was close this time and made its way under the greenery of the pink flowers. I felt like it was safe and went back inside.
I decided to go check on it again during my lunch break but could not find the little thing, so I am hopeful it is now flying high somewhere after resting most of the morning. As I held the little bird this morning, I remembered being four years old and telling my papa that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. I grew up on a farm with lots of animals; and our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, was at our home regularly. He was a large-breed vet, so he would come to care for our cattle, goats, and hogs. If I was out of school, I would always accompany him and my papa out in the pasture to make sure everything was done well. 😉 He would always explain everything he was doing and had more patience with me than he should have. We had one of the biggest bulls I’d ever seen, and Dr. Gray was not afraid of him at all. That bull would roll over and let Dr. Gray trim his hooves and horns. It was a sight to behold! I would also take short road trips with my papa to pick up medicine at Dr. Gray’s office that was in a neighboring town. I remember sitting on his counter and visiting with him regularly. I sincerely thought Dr. Gray had the coolest job on the planet – “playing” with animals all day.
I’ve been in my profession in one way or another for over 20 years now. I developed an affinity for writing when I was in junior high school and always dreamed of authoring. However, I think about those childhood dreams of being a veterinarian often, especially on days like today. As I grew older, I realized that Dr. Gray really wasn’t playing with those animals at all and that sometimes he had to make difficult decisions about ending their lives. Knowing that, I just didn’t think that profession was for me. I determined my career field when was young, and my dreams of veterinary medicine took second place to pen and paper. I often wonder if my papa had continued to farm if I would have changed my mind. I guess I will never know.