Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Consoling, Understanding, and Loving... Blossom Comes Home For Good...

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

~ From The Prayer of St. Francis ~

Mama Maitri & Blossom, together at last...

And so this is my third of four entries for The St. Francis Project, and this week's portion of the prayer could not be more pertinent and on target for what has been happening with Blossom the last 2 weeks.

It will be 2 weeks tomorrow that she arrived here from Jeff's and it was only late tonight that I realized what had truly happened. I know in my heart I am right. But let me take you back to the beginning...

Blossom, the Greater Sulfur Crested Cockatoo, pictured with me above, arrived after Jeff's valiant efforts to give her the best of everything but she had become so frightened she was plucking her own feathers and being attacked by another of his cockatoos. The whole story is told in the previous two entries. I kept Blossom for ten days, and finally, with both of us in despair, she went home with Jeff on Saturday. I had been bitten rather badly three times (I will likely lose a fingernail, a toenail, and I just about got a new earring hole!) and it had come to the point of me being so afraid of her that the last day I didn't take her out of her cage.

Now, the thing was, she was not being a "bad bird." We were not only not fully in tune with one another yet, I had not learned her signals, and this is of utmost importance with parrots, especially of this size. She is among the largest of the white cockatoos, and a cockatoo bite can be a really nasty one. I became more and more afraid -- and this is after having run a parrot shelter and handled every kind of bird imaginable -- and as I did she began to scream more and more. The situation seemed untenable, and it broke my heart, and Jeff's, but Saturday he came and picked her up. We could not imagine what would happen in the following three days.

Blossom and I have always had a deep attachment. From the time Jeff rescued her whenever I went to his house she was with me a good bit of the time and obviously loved me and I her. I used to tell him that it was hard for me not to take her home every time I was there, and once she almost bit him when he was trying to lift her off of me. What happened, in the last three days, was that she had bonded so strongly to me that she was broken-hearted to be taken away, as were we all, but she would not eat. Not anything. Jeff bought and made every kind of food under the sun for her and she would not eat. She was losing weight and getting weaker. She was showing such signs of distress in three days time she might have died before long. We decided today she had to come back.

I babysit my grandbaby on Tuesday afternoons so Jeff met me here when I got home and before I was out of the car she was in the car with me! It was a joyful reunion, and it was clear how much she loved me, and how very deeply bonded she to with me and I to her. We came inside and she sat with me, climbing all over me, being rubbed and loved, and she preened me and loved on me and it was the grandest homecoming. She immediately started eating and ate all kinds of things, a fair amount of food, and she stayed with me or played on her playstand next to me until it was time to go to bed. As I covered her she was saying, "Night night Blossom..." sounding so happy, and peaceful and content, and I just glowed with a kind of warm love and peace I cannot put into words.

As I sat here tonight, dogs and birds asleep all around me, something occurred to me. She had been with Jeff a very long time and it was very hard for him to part with her. I wanted her but the responsibility of taking on a cockatoo of this size, especially when you have a house full of rescues and animal companions can be daunting at best. Some part of Jeff hadn't let go, and some part of me hadn't fully committed. But then came the dire circumstances that could have cost her her life and we moved swiftly. It wasn't about Jeff, it wasn't about me, it was about Blossom.

... not to be consoled, but to console,
not to be understood as to understand,
and not to be loved, as to love...

This is the lesson that Blossom has taught us. The difference in the blink of an eye is night and day. She is happy and eating and cuddling and playing and right where she belongs. And Jeff has let go and I have committed, and a beautiful white bird taught us both to understand, to open our hearts, and to truly love. I am deeply sorry that she went through what she went through in those three days, but it was a lesson we will not soon forget. Animals are not meant to be passed around, they have feelings, very, very deep ones. They bond to their person if they don't have a mate, and to lose their "mate" can have devastating consequences. This time, one bird has been saved, and two people have learned more than they could have ever possibly imagined. St. Francis looked over us all, and all is well.

May you take in the words of Francis in your own life, and may you find peace in the ability to console, to understand, and to love. No gift is greater, no lesson more important.

Blessings and Love to One and All,



Chimera Crochet said...

Beautiful journal entry on attatchment, bonds and love. Thank-you for sharing it.

Robert A Vollrath said...

This story reminds me of my own experience as a pet store employee.
These birds are so intelligent that I found myself in awe of their ability to reason.

earth heart said...

What a truly beautiful story.

nasrul said...

wow.. it's great to be inspired by nature

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