MY FEATHERED FRIEND

a writing by Nancy Ellen Crossland

It was the kind of spring day one longs for. Bright and sunny, perfect temperature, a soft breeze. That spring of my 11th year I walked out the back door gazing at this perfect day and my parents manicured lawn. Mom was quite a gardener with her lilies-of-the valley lining the border of the flowerbed, tulips, lilac bushes and daisies. How I loved to admire all the flowers!

There in the middle of the deep green grass a spot of pale yellow and brown moved. Unsure of what it was from a distance, I approached cautiously. There it was. A young meadowlark with one wing stretched out and the other clung to its frail body. It appeared wounded and so frightened. Running through the house, I found a shoebox and tore a bit of flannel from an old shirt. Back to the yard and my wounded patient. Carefully I picked up the bird not wanting to further injure it and placed in within the shoebox. He didn't move. Only seemed to look at me pleadingly. What could I do? I asked my mother for an eye dropper, which she hurriedly gave me. I filled it with water, placing it within a small bottlecap. I felt such sympathy for this small creature. Digging around the flowerbed, I was able to find some very healthy worms and some small insects. Well, it was worth a try. I tried a few dropperfuls of water. He finally opened his beak much to my surprise and nibbled at a worm.

That evening I brought him inside the house taking him in my bedroom. I placed him on the floor, arranging the bit of flannel to keep him comfortable. I was so worried he would be in pain and perhaps die during the night. The next day, he seemed to be moving a bit more. I was elated. Taking him outdoors,I thought if he heard the other birds, he would be comforted. This continued for a week.

On the eighth day while taking the shoebox outdoors, he started to flap his wing! It was time. He had healed enough to take to the sky. His home awaited him. Taking him out of the shoebox, I placed him on the soft grass. He seemed to look at me for a long moment and I truly felt he was thankful that my bit of care had healed him. He took a few hops, then broke out in song. Then he took flight perfectly, soaring free to join the others as they enjoyed that glorious spring day. I shall never forget that experience nor my feathered friend.

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