Recently, my family experienced a lesson in Gaia’s Garden that proved to us deeply that love is never wasted.
My daughter has a lovely friend that she made during her studies in Horticulture, and she was visiting her home one afternoon. The girl’s mother came home from an errand and was rather flustered.
She was walking out of a building to go to her car, and there on the parking lot asphalt was a tiny naked and blind baby bird. The day was cold and overcast, and as she looked around, she saw a number of pigeon nests up in the eaves of the building she just exited.
She scooped up the baby, drove home and presented it to her daughter.
It was then that she and my daughter sprang into action. The plans they had for their day were forgotten, as they found a small basket and some soft bedding, and ran to the pet store to get baby bird food and feeding syringes.
My daughter’s friend was scheduled to work a full day the following morning, and so, my daughter told her that she would nurse the baby for her, which would entail feeding every few hours through the night and day. I was not made aware of any of this.
When my daughter walked into the house that night with a cloth bag in hand and looked at me, I intuitively knew she was bringing home something that needed to be rescued and I immediately asked her what being she was planning on adopting.
You see, this is nothing new for my sweet and caring daughter, who brings home bits of abandoned plants to nurture and grow and even a tiny tree frog found in a foliage packing crate from Florida that she opened at the green house where she worked.
She quickly recounted the story of this tiny bird as I opened the bag, pulled out the basket and peered into the soft cloth set around him for protection.
As a student of biology and a flock mother of many birds and parrots through out my life, I could tell this little pigeon had only just come out of his egg, as he still had his egg tooth attached and was covered sparsely in the lightest yellow down. He was cold to the touch and his neck was bent in a very funny way.
Knowing the morphology of baby birds, I could tell by his deflated crop at the front of his tiny chest that he hadn’t been fed and he needed nourishment, warmth and hydration right away.
The kids set about researching on the internet how to care for their helpless charge as I cradled him to my heart to get him warm. As I felt him, I knew that his mother had observed him, knew he was sick and according to some instinctual knowing, had kicked him out of her nest.
The animal world is rife with what many would call heartlessness, but in terms of the ultimate goal of a species, the good of the many outweigh the good of the few. Mother animals innately know when one of their offspring is sick and the use of energy and resources to raise that young to the age where it will successfully reproduce and pass down genetic materials is not supported in the species.
I learned that the hard way, with my first rescue as a child. One day a tiny squirrel came up to my family when we were walking around the garden in the evening after dinner. He climbed right up my mothers leg, and he was the sweetest thing I had ever seen.
We begged my mother to let us keep it, and we took care of him in a cage we kept in the garage. My grandfather, who had managed a gentleman’s farm at the family home in England when my mother was young, told us that the squirrel’s mother had kicked him out of the nest because he was sick in order to save the rest of her brood from becoming infected.
Of course, our little hearts did not believe him. We instantly fell in love with our new charge and called him Cheeky, and spent our spring and summer days tending to his needs, playing with him and cuddling with him in sheer delight.
Humans tend to fall in love with animals and the natural world. The Biophillia Hypothesis suggests an innate connection to nature and animals is inborn and supports our integration into the ecosystem we reside in.
Humans, and some animals it seems, also have a tendency to fall in love with the baby schema, or a set of characteristics presented in the morphology and anatomy of the infant of a species. We tend to be attracted to animal babies of related species and our attraction decreases as the species diverge.
There is a significant amount of research discussing the physiology of human-animal relationships if you are interested in exploring it, but what I find interesting is that while it is genetically beneficial for a species to be attracted to the care of its own progeny, there is no genetic benefit in the attraction or the influence to innate mothering skills related to other species.
Maybe, this behavior is not truly genetically predisposed. Maybe it is simply a function of the huge hearts of humans, their ability to be compassionate and their tendency to be loving? I know deep in my heart that this is the case.
My grandfather understood animals, but he was also an intuitive, and the day came when our little Cheeky went blind and became very ill from Chlamydia, which effects many wild mammals as well as humans. As any good animal husband will do, my grandfather quickly put him out of his extreme misery and we began our mourning process, as it was our first experience of love and loss in our young lives.
As I held this tiny and defenseless bird, and read his life story within his energy, I was reminded of my experience as a child, and for a few moments I felt the strong desire of a mother to protect her own child from the pain of loss.
My girls had only experienced loss of a pet after long and fulfilling lives. They understood that pets spend a lifetime of love with us, but that life is shorter than ours. Sometimes they get sick and because we love them and do not want them to suffer greatly, we sometimes assist them in their journey back to the ethers.
At this moment in time, cradling this tiny life to my heart which opened to his needs and wanted to protect him, nurture him and watch him grow, while knowing intuitively that this was not going to be the case, I also knew that it was wrong to interfere with the heart and soul lesson set before my daughter and her friend.
So, we set about feeding him and warming him and creating a safe nest space where he could sleep. My daughter set her alarm and faithfully tended to him on a time schedule, and his crop was filled with nourishing food and water and his vent was stimulated so he could eliminate waste.
When I checked on him in the afternoon, his neck was still bent funny and he was mouth breathing, though he seemed stronger and more plump after being fed and hydrated. My daughter’s friend came to pick him up after working a full day to take him home and begin the intense schedule of care the two of them had committed to.
They began joking about how ugly he was and even though he was ugly they loved him and called him Kevin.
They didn’t know why they called him Kevin, but the name stuck in my head and I knew there was a reason.
A few hours later, I realized that Kevin was the name of the giant strange bird that the little boy found in the movie UP. When I looked at the images of the cartoon Kevin, I laughed because the beak of our Kevin and the cartoon Kevin were exactly the same shape.
As my daughter prepared her friend for departure, I cuddled with Kevin and they took a picture of me with him. We then stood in a circle and said goodbye to him, and I knew it would probably be for the last time.
I told them both what I had intuited, as I always share what comes up for me around situations. I knew he was sick and I knew it was related to his breathing and I told them to watch for mucous in the throat and to keep him warm and comfortable and only feed him as much as he would take, especially since he was mouth breathing.
The next morning our dear Kevin, warm and snug in the comfy cloth nest basket the girls prepared for him, passed into birdie heaven from respiratory distress. He was buried in my daughter’s friends back yard.
The seemingly cold biological fact of passing down genetics and playing the odds of nurturing a baby bird to fledgling left our Kevin on the asphalt of a cold parking lot to die alone through the actions of his own mother. Chances are, from a species optimization standpoint, she probably did the best thing for the remainder of her brood and gave them a better chance at survival. This, of course, is the ultimate goal of the species. To pass down healthy DNA from generation to generation.
But, we are more than just biology. We are the interface and conduit of biology, integrated with consciousness and spirit and imbued with love.
Of course the girls were upset about the passing of sweet innocent little Kevin, as was I. We opened our hearts to this tiny creature, and I did so knowing full well that he would not survive.
I also know full well that no matter the odds of any situation, I will always open my heart to love and care for any being, because that is who I am.
My heart is strong and it is not here to be coddled and protected against the hurt of breaking or loss. It is in the act of loving and kindness and compassion, of caring, that the heart grows stronger and more resilient.
With each act of loving, our hearts become more, and our ability to love more fully becomes stronger. As we go through the cycle of opening our hearts to love fearlessly, we also begin to understand that love is not something static. It is not something we can hold on to. It is as amorphous as the scent of lilies at night, and just as delicious.
In closing our hearts in an effort to protect ourselves from hurt or loss, we close off to the flow of love from All that is. Through fear, we consciously choose to disconnect from that love, which is energy, and therefore cannot be created or destroyed, but simply flows through form, into form and out of form.
Love is the energy that the Universe is constructed with. Love is the force that holds us all together.
You see, love is never lost. Our love and individual acts of care flow out into the Universe. It is the ultimate energy, and it is also a symbol of our commitment to nurture and to be there for each other. To be there for all beings on planet. To be there for all particles of energy and consciousness in the Universe.
Our hearts and souls have an infinite capacity to love. They know no bounds.
As we flow this love out from our hearts and through our actions, as beloved children of the Universe all, it is returned back to us in every moment we stand with an open heart.
It is transformed, of course, in the vessel and vibration of our hearts, and it is used to bless all beings that we love, and with hearts swelled, they in turn bless others in the infinite dance of creation.
Love is never lost. It is never wasted. It is eternal and all powerful, and it is wielded through our incarnate hearts to bless all things.
I thank sweet Kevin for reminding us of this, and for giving us the opportunity to again open to love in Gaia’s Garden.
Written for Gaia Scenics’ View
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