Screen Shot 2013-06-18 at 8.56.06 AMI’m giving an exam. There’s a lot of human suffering–the kind that makes a kid have to go to the bathroom. One girl left to accomplish this task.

“Miss, there’s a bird.”

“Someone gave you the bird?” This is urban education, man. Toughen up.

“No. A bird.” Sure enough, there was a beautiful little bird flitting around the hallway, trying in vain to get out the window. It wasn’t going far, so intent at looking at the view outside, yet stuck in place by a pane of glass. Kinda reminded me of myself at times. I had to help.

I got a large plastic chip bowl–the kind of thing that clutters my classroom that I keep meaning to toss but I think, “hate to waste, maybe it’ll have some use.” Finally. It’s day had come. A colleague walked down the hall, seeing the bird and the chip bowl. “We should call maintenance.” I wasn’t sure how someone who fixes everything that breaks for me (my heroes) and who also bestowed upon my neighbor the Coveted Key To The Bathroom had any more training in bird catching than I did.

“No.” I said. “I got this.” My colleague went to prevent my class from cheating on my exam–a moot point, because they probably finished in the time it took me to get the chip bowl anyway.

Slowly, I snuck up on the little bird. He slipped over to the left, then the right, but not out of reach, and he never left the glass. It seemed to me that if a large, purple chip bowl was coming for me, I’d fly to the ceiling. Maybe he didn’t know that chip bowls and humans can’t fly. He was so intent–staring ahead, banging his head against the very thing that was hurting him–trapping him–holding him back and keeping him from being free. I stood still for a moment, and then slowly…put the bowl behind him a foot away.

“I know I can get out it in a minute…if I just…keep…at it.” So intent at breaking through…bang, bang, bang.

I put the chip bowl down on the glass. For just a moment bird did not move.

“Sorry, little bird…” I’d trapped his foot under the bowl. I picked up the bowl, just a millimeter, releasing his foot. The bird flittered inside. Bang…bang…bang… I had caught the bird. I’ve never caught a bird before. I’ve been given the bird, and once or twice I returned the favor, but I never caught one.

I realized something.

I was stuck.

“Hey!” I called out to my colleague. “I’m stuck. Dump a box and bring me a large piece of cardboard.” The clutter in my room was really starting to pay off. He came back with the bucket I use to clean out my fish tank.

“Not a bucket! Cardboard. I’m going to slip the cardboard under the bowl and make a lid. Then, I’ll take the bird outside.” He came back with someone’s posterboard. Sorry, to whoever’s project that was, but it served a higher purpose. Probably got you an A to begin with, but it saved a life as well.

I took the bird outside.

I released it. Such a simple act. I smiled. I watched the bird fly away. I hope his little foot doesn’t hurt too much.

How many times do we just…keep…at it. How many times do we bang our head against the glass, the wall, anything really, and keep ourselves from getting where we need to be? Probably more than we’re willing to admit.

Thank you, little bird, for the lesson. I hope I’ve helped. If I can ask just one thing in return–can you please tell your friends not to poop on my car? I’d appreciate it.

[image credit:]


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