Sunday, October 28, 2012

On A Little Passing

Yes, I know that I JUST posted.

But something happened today that I felt deserved more than just a passing Facebook status.

Today, one of my two finches passed from this mortal life.


I just want to take a little time to remember her.

I remember when I purchased the pair of them back in September of 2008.  They were actually for a presentation on bird banding I was going to give for a class.

From that time on they have been kind of a silly and random presence in my life.

After much deliberation and input from my family, I decided to name them Howard and Eunice. From "What's Up, Doc?"  Need a reference?  Here you go.

Please go and rent the entire film if you have not seen it.  It's for your own good. 

They were a cute little pair.  A little shy at first but then learning their routine and opening up in their song repertoire.   

Beeps, chirps, warbles, (and if agitated, screeches) abounded.

When I FIRST got them, they used to wake me up in the morning.  But after a while I didn't mind their sounds.  They were familiar.  And adorable.

They used to hop and dart around their cage.  Take baths that splattered water everywhere.  And once or twice, little Eunice laid an egg (which never hatched, of course).

Yes, they were a sweet little duo.

Only in the last couple days has Eunice been acting strange.  Not as active.  Not singing as much.  I thought it was just the change in weather.

I should have known it was a terrible idea to hold off turning on the heat when it was getting below freezing at night.

And so after I got back from church this afternoon, there she was at the bottom of the cage.  Lifeless.  

And Howard looking confused and a little lost.

Birds may not have as much intelligence or emotional complexity as dogs, but they do learn routine and familiarity.  And these two little birds had been together from birth.  Never separated (except for the couple times Howard got out of the cage).  And so I know Howard will be a little out of sorts for a while.

I'll admit, I'm not going to loose sleep over this.  I'm not going to take off a day of work.  But I AM sad.

Mostly for Howard.  I know he will be just fine.  But he seems so lonely now.  He no longer has anyone to sing with or to perch next to in the night.  

It doesn't help that I am pretty sure it was my neglect in temperature regulation that KILLED Eunice.  

I feel horrible about it.

She will be remembered.

I wish I had a picture of these two...but they flit rather fast and I've never taken the time to just sit there and wait for them to be still.

It's a pity.  They are such lovely little birds.

So, to Eunice.

One of the silliest little birds who honored her namesake.

Farewell, tiny one.

Friday, October 26, 2012

On An Unexpected Puppy

Let me tell you a story. Well, my brief part in it, at least.

It all begins last Sunday night.

Now, I wasn't here for this part.  I was at home, lying in my bed, preparing for sleep.

But as I understand it, a friend of mine was in the parking lot of Wal-Mart.  There, she witnessed one of the most heinous crimes.  Blatant physical abuse of an animal.  A small puppy to be exact.

She stepped in, as well she should.  As I would have.  An argument of unknown length and heat occurred in which at some point the puppy beater said something along the lines of "YOU take her then".

And so she did.

Fast forward to Monday morning.

Not being able to keep the puppy herself, and needing to take her SOMEWHERE, my friend brought her to the Veterinary hospital where I work.

The puppy had no shots, was quite shy and skittish, and had no idea what these humans around her were going to do to her.  Not to mention she was CRAWLING with fleas and had scabs all over her from the scratching.

It was tragic that anytime a person approached her, she would back away...afraid.  Because the humans she knew had hurt her.

Oh, and did I mention she was ADORABLE???

She was so helpless.

I mean LOOK at that face!

But what were we going to do with her?

I had full intention of taking her home and putting a notice up on Craigs List.  Not IDEAL, but it was a thought.

Half an hour after she came into the hospital and we had made sure she wasn't damaged or sick, a woman comes in with her sick cat.  And guess what?  She just HAPPENS to be looking for a house mate for her 2-year-old Yorkie.

The timing was perfect.  I showed her the pup and made the sale.  At the end of the chat, the pup wandered cautiously from my arms and snuggled right up to this new lady.

It was a sign.  This was fate.

The only problem (which really wasn't a problem at all but a JOY) was that this woman couldn't pick up the pup until Wednesday morning.

So, who got to foster her in the meantime?

Yours truly.

And so for most of Monday, all of Tuesday, and Wednesday morning I was the keeper of the little sweetheart pictured above.

I'm not gonna lie.  I fell in love.  Even in that short time.

And when Wednesday morning came, a little part of me wished that the woman would call and say her plans had changed and she couldn't keep her.

Alas.  Perhaps now is not the time for me to have a puppy.  But it was a wonderful two days.

Here are some things I want to always remember about this little bundle of joy.

-The way she carefully seems to select a leaf from the countless numbers of them, pounce on it, then carry it triumphantly for a few seconds.

-The way she loves to bound through the grass.  leaping like a white tail deer.

-The way she follows close by like she never wants to lose you.  You always have to be in her sight. I never had to have a leash on her.

-The way her food disappears in a matter of seconds.

-The way she curls up in your arms once she is ready to settle down.

-Her adorable playfulness.

-How she looks at you adoringly.  Because she depends on you and KNOWS that you love her.  And she loves you too.

-The way she explores under chairs and beds.

-The way that she already knew the way home from our little walks we take up the drive.  On the way back she would start charging ahead, impatient to get back.  But she would wait for me to catch up and then bolt a couple feet again.  SO excited to be back home.

-The way she loves car rides.

-The way she immediately began to open up once she knew she was safe and loved.

-The way she looked at my slightly steep stairs EVERY time like "you want me to do WHAT now?" but with a little encouragement, stumbled her way up.  Because she knew it meant she was strong and because she knew I loved her for it.

-The fact that in only two days we had already fallen in love with each other.  And even though she hardly knew me, the fact that I fed her, cared for her, held her, and loved her meant that she trusted me.

-The way she would hover around my ankles whenever there was a new person.  Afraid to venture from the unfamiliar.  And then she would look at me as if to ask "is this person okay?".

-How smart she was.  How she already knew the trick of "I'm going to grab this things that is yours and drag it out here to get you to come out here and play with me".  The good ol' bait and lure.

Let my provide you with some more pictures.  They're not great.  But they are what I have.

(wow, phone IS kind of a beast...)

 Bath time!!

Chomping the leaf

Early Wednesday morning when I dropped her off at the hospital to be picked up my heart broke a little.

I know it sounds stupid.  To get all attached to this little mutt of a dog after only two days.

I tried to understand myself and why I got a little misty eyed as I said goodbye.  Why it was a wrench to leave.  Why I can't help but feel that there is now something missing in my life.

And I think I figured out what it is.

We, as human beings, need to be NEEDED.  It is within all of us (well...MOST of us) to care and nurture others.

And with dogs, they are so accepting, so trusting, and devoted.  They give all they have and are to be with you and love you.  You are their LIFE.  They depend on you.  And in return for your care, they love you unconditionally.

And we all want to be loved.  Deep down we all want to care for someone or something and be loved back.   And dogs provide that. Unconditional companionship.

I had that for a couple of precious days.

And losing that made me feel like I lost a little part of myself that I had discovered.

All in all I am very grateful for the experience.  I hope one day to have a dog as smart, sweet, loving, and overall well behaved as this little pup was.

Monday, October 1, 2012

On Revelation

We all live in our little bubbles.

Where we are safe and life is as we perceive it-true or not.

We are convinced that these little worlds we have created are the sole purpose of our existence.

If any one thing is thrown out of balance, the fragile walls of these bubbles come crashing down.



Life is hard.  It's complicated.  It's messy.

And it is nearly NEVER as we perceive it.

Sometimes we need to open our eyes.

I won a pair of sunglasses that have a hint of red tones to them.  I often wear them bike riding.  When I do,  the limited vibrancy of this slow rising Missouri Autumn is enhanced.  I can almost believe that the trees are starting to turn bright scarlet, orange, and gold.  Not rust, brown, and pale yellow.  It's pretty great.  But the second I take them off, the dullness of reality is revealed.  It's kind of disappointing.

Of COURSE we all want to wear those reality altering sunglasses through our lives.

But where does that get us?

It's hard when we find ourselves faced with a revelation that changes our whole perception of a previously solid reality.  There is a time of floundering and questioning.

This is normal.

But eventually, you are going to have to come to terms with that reality and find your footing again.  Otherwise in this new exposed environment, unprotected by the paper thin bubble, we can find ourselves beginning to lose all that we sought to gain.

That's why spending life in these self-imposed bubbles is never the best idea.

Step outside yourself.  Look around you.  WITHOUT the sunglasses.  Expose yourself to reality...and over time it becomes less scary.

It's still just as hard as it's always been, but you find you are more suited to face it.

We can spend our whole lives laying out the little pieces of our future.  Trying to create the mosaic that we think we deserve.  A collage of expectations.

How often do we limit ourselves through this act of "pursuing our dreams" and "not making compromises"?

Don't take me for a cynic.  I believe as much as the next person that much is possible when you put forth effort and never give up.

But then there is reality.  Sometimes those pieces just don't fit.  Like putting together a puzzle and trying to ram the little round end into the hole of another piece and it just wont work.  Then we try to force it because we don't have the patience to look for the right piece in the seemingly endless pile of identical looking shapes.

The worst part is that sometimes that fitting piece is right there in front of us, and we either keep passing it over never giving it a change, or we've tried it several times and decided that it just doesn't look right and so discard it without a second thought.

It doesn't help that the pattern of the puzzle is ever changing.  Never the same thing for very long, and so we are constantly having to alter our perspective.

Like I said.  It's not easy.

It's not meant to be.

But if we keep trying to force our lives into perfection, we're only going to be disappointed.

We shouldn't devote all our time on those two pieces that refuse to fit and miss the opportunity of revealing the bigger pictures that is the puzzle.

One small revelation can change things.  Suddenly, a whole section of the puzzle is different.  And I can't seem to figure out how it relates to the rest of the picture.  Where does it fit in?  Does it even belong to the same puzzle anymore?  Does it work well with the rest of the images or is it a blemish to the art that is the balancing act of my life?

I find myself wanting.  Searching for something that I haven't had in years.  Sometimes the desire for it is a hollow ache somewhere between my heart and my stomach.  It spreads until it occupies a nagging corner in my mind.

And so that need to search is always there.

I can't escape it.

But I can put it aside.  Place it on a shelf and let it sit collecting dust while I strive to attend the more important things in my life.

It's something I'm learning to do, and it's not easy.

The last thought of the night is this:

More than anything I wish there was a way I could be just me.

Just Sarah.

Nothing more, nothing less.

 No expectations.  No brand.

Because it's okay for me to be that person.  An individual separated from various hats that I wear.

In my entire life I can easily count on one hand the number of people I can be that Sarah around...

Honest.  No strings attached.

And you wanna know how many of those people are still in my life?

Not enough.

It's what I'm searching for.

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