My track record with nature is really not so great. I guess you could say animals, specifically. Oh, sometimes I get it right. More often than not, I have a swing and a miss though.
When I was in college, my friend’s cockatiels had babies and she gave me one. Petey. He was a cute little thing. He whistled, talked a bit, ate the corners of my pages while I studied. They are supposed to live for a long time. He survived the trip to Houston. Then, one weekend when my friend was visiting for Valentine’s Day and I told her to check out my bird. She did. Then she said, “Uh, Darma? Does he sleep laying down?”. Hell! I think I killed my bird. Too much food? Not enough? Water? Who can know. Thank goodness for my cowboy neighbor with his big old truck and tough as nails girlfriend who always rode shotgun. I called them, explained my dilemma, and they were nice enough to help Petey find his final resting place. I didn’t ask – don’t even want to know!
A happy story I guess I do recall from when I was working at the hospital. I was either on break or walking records or something, and while walking back to the hospital I noticed a baby bird in the middle of the busy street. Crazy as I was, I went out and stopped traffic and shooed that little bird to the parking. Far as I know, he lived. I really felt great that day…saving a bird’s life. It is the simple things, you know?
Some efforts don’t turn out so well. When I was working at the middle school, I saw another little critter in need of rescue. It was another hellish hot Kansas City day, and there was this teeny little ground squirrel baby stuck on the black top. He was so going to fry. I did pause for just a second, because ground squirrels raise hell in mama’s garden, but a life is a life, no matter how small and all that, so I tried. I went to pick the little guy up, and he kind of freaked out, so I got a piece of paper and shoed him off on to the grass, a little bit at a time. I should have left well enough alone. I thought he looked thirsty though. Can’t leave him thirsty (do you hear the music of doom in the background???). I ran in to get my water bottle. I didn’t have a dropper handy, so I just put a little bit ( I swear it was really only a little bit) in the lid of my water bottle and tried to put some water into his little gasping mouth. The rest I do not remember clearly. The gasping did stop. I am pretty sure I drowned him. Isn’t that awful? I think I didn’t sleep well that night. Not at all.
Squirrels just piss me off. Do they not realize how awful it is to hear that kathump? Is this something I need to think about all day long? No! Quit jumping out in front of my wheels, dammit! Thank goodness I have managed to dodge all but the one…
This sounds harsh, but I just can’t help it…armadillos don’t even count. They are too dumb. THEY ARE! Have you ever seen one alive? I did, briefly once when I went for a walk with the cowboy who did cleanup with poor Petey. It was a brief moment and one for the record books for sure. The second time didn’t even count, because he was on his way to meet his maker and give my daddy and I the laugh of our lives. Dad flew to Houston to drive home with me for my college graduation. It was a long drive and we were really tired. All of a sudden we see a flash of armadillo and then hear the most awful kathump thump thump under the car. I have no idea how many times that ugly thing bounced between our car and the pavement, but man it was not a good way to go. Dad and I were laughing so hard we were crying. We had to pull over. We called my mom, and I think she thought we had been drinking…I’m sure she couldn’t understand a word that was said.