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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Little Birdie Told Me To...

On the way to Seattle to visit my parents in September, I grabbed Southwest Airlines "Spirit" magazine from that same little pocket as the barf bags sit. You know which one. Anyway, I literally opened it to a page with a sweet little pigeon photo staring at me. What I learned quickly is that the little bird had a name. Cleo. And a story. A story that sent me to tears in row 14.

"Cleo" was found sprawled on a sidewalk by Nancy Bevilaqua one morning in May 2002. She hauntingly described the little bird as "injured and exhausted, awaiting the last blow of fate." Displaying the skills of an exceptionally good samaritan, she gently scooped up the bird with the tiny bit of life left in him, and took him home.

She spent the rest of the day holding Cleo on her lap in the sun, gently whispering calming words to him as he helplessly lay there. Nancy expected him to die any moment. So that I do not lose you at this point to a tragic ending vignette, Cleo did live, and is thriving beautifully 6 years later.

What strikes me more about this story though than his recovery is the depth of surrender that little bird must have been experiencing lying there, unable to move or fend for himself. The surrender to what is. Nancy mentions that she has been through hard times, but never one drastic enough to leave her sprawled out on a sidewalk, paralyzed, with no one but a stranger to trust. Whoa. I agree.

If that little bird can do it, so can I. I can trust that I will always be cared for by the divine no matter how extreme the circumstance. I can feel safe in the arms of the universe.

Cleo and Nancy, you are inspirations. I was not prepared to learn such a deep lesson about trust and unabiding, accepting love from my middle seat on the plane. However, I was certainly thrilled to capture that moment in time and share my peanuts with my neighbor who politely offered me a tissue.

1 comment:

  1. Hi--I was just Googling around, and I found this (I think I read it back when you originally posted it, but I'd sort of forgotten about it). I'm Nancy. I just wanted to let you know that Cleo is STILL alive and well and feisty as ever (although she does have a tumor on the broken wing now)--11 years later!
    Thank you for writing this. It makes me happy that the story gave you some inspiration (and I'll be sure to mention it to Cleo, who just loves the limelight :) ).
    I hope you're doing well.
    Nancy Bevilaqua