A couple of years ago, outside of my apartment, a pigeon flew past me frantically flapping his wings but barely being able to fly higher than about my shoulder. A pink plastic bag was attached to his foot. With each attempt to fly, just as he was becoming airborne, the bag would fill with air and become a small parachute that would weigh him down. He would land exhausted and confused on the sidewalk over and over again.
A woman near me was also watching and we immediately began following him, tiptoeing around him, trying to capture him or at least keep him from flying into a car driving by. Whenever we got close though, the bird would panic and try to fly away from us. But who were we kidding anyway? What were we going to do, pick up a city pigeon? With our bare hands?? And then what, have it peck our eyes out and, if not blinding us then infecting our eyes with bird syphilis or something else equally as vile? Or, or what, touch its foot? And then have it freak out and in the struggle his filthy claw will embed itself into my wrist’s vein like a razor where I’d bleed out in my apartment or worse, on the street? Um, no thanks, but I’m not a monster, I definitely wasn’t going to let it get hit by a car.
Suddenly, a young man walking with his friends said something to them in Spanish so they’d stop and wait for him. He walked over to where we had semi corned the pigeon against a wall.
“He has a bag on his foot.” I said. He gave me the thumbs up sign and then proceeded to, in one motion, gracefully bend down and scoop up the pigeon so quickly that the bird was not even alarmed and remained still as he was expertly cradled in between the guy’s arm and body.
Speaking quietly to the pigeon, like you would to a crying baby, he smoothly untangled the bag, checked to make sure there was nothing else wrong with him and released him into the air. We watched as he flew off and disappeared between the buildings.
“Wow!” I said, “That was amazing!”
He just gave a little wave and walked off with his friends.
————————————————————————————————————————-I think of this story often because of how beautifully the guy handled that bird. He was so gentle and compassionate. It made me wonder where he was from and what his life was like before he came to the U.S.
As I was thinking back on this event again this week, it dawned on me that we all have metaphorical plastic bags tied to us. What’s holding me back when I try to fly? What issues can I compassionately and kindly untangle myself from so I can reach new heights in the new year? I’m going to really think about it as I watch my Hallmark movies and drink wine this week and I’ll let you know next year.
Happy New Year!!!! Wishing that you all will fly to even greater heights in the coming year!