Noelie is home again, after her second separate weekend in the veterinary hospital. She’s eating on her own and she can sleep standing on one foot with her head tucked backward, which is more than I can do, so hey.
I didn’t know what was going to happen over this long holiday weekend. I feared the inevitable. Not too many parrots have been known to survive a stroke. I decided not to cancel my plans to go camping, so I could creep off to cry in the trees and meditate on all that circle of life business.
Time enough to find out the sad news after we came down off the mountain again. In the meantime, let me pretend that all this is uncertain. Schrodinger’s Parrot.
I set out alone to walk around the lake, a distance somewhere between seven and eight miles. This would be the farthest distance I have traveled on foot since I came down with COVID last year. Actually about double.
What I didn’t know, when I set out, was that there was not a clear path around the entire lake.
This is life. You make these big impressive plans and set out to accomplish them, often as a way to escape a situation or a grief or a trauma, and then realize that what you are doing isn’t what you thought it was going to be.
I walked over sand
I walked over rocks
I walked straight into a bog
My socks got wet
I didn’t know where I was
I couldn’t find the path
I wandered in the trees and realized the sun was going to set
I was in the home stretch, only a mile or so from camp, tired and dehydrated and feeling dumb as heck
When I turned around and decided to go back in the woods again
And I saw these rare flowers, trilliums, that supposedly take seven years to bloom
Oh, I should take a picture of these, I thought, and got out my phone
Only to see an incoming text message. Out here?
A video of my little parrot Noelle, standing at her dish and eating, which used to be the most ordinary thing in the world
But which now constituted PROOF OF LIFE
And I stood there in the Bog of Confusion and texted my husband and found out that she was home again.
A few minutes later I had found the trail - a messy and muddy trail, unimproved, large sections washed out in knee-deep pools of water, blocked by half a dozen fallen trees - and half an hour later I was back in camp
Where everyone thought I had been in my tent taking a nap the whole time.
I was not lost
I did not need a search party
I didn’t even get a mosquito bite, despite the bog
And I drank nearly two liters of water and ate two burgers
And told everybody about my sweet little birdie
And there was much rejoicing.
I thought to myself, if I can walk seven miles then maybe I can walk ten
Maybe I can run-walk soon
Only a year ago I could barely stand up long enough to fold a basket of laundry
And now I can carry a 30-pound pack down the stairs again.
I can pitch my tent, I can put my sleeping bag in the compression sack, I can survive a night when the temperature is 43F
I did it all
And if I can survive coronavirus, then maybe my baby bean can survive her stroke after all.
When I got back to town I talked to my husband and he shared about what he has learned from the vet. She has been checking in a lot.
We are now on the cutting edge of veterinary science
She only knows of one other parrot who has had the same symptoms as my girl
That bird was messed up for a few months
BUT IT RECOVERED
And she is not writing her off by any means!
Let’s remember her as an acrobat, chatty, musical, demanding little diva
And not as this sorry creature with dizzy spells who cannot preen her own tail.
Let us hope and pray together that she will recover, like this other bird supposedly has, that she will continue her upward trend and start to collect her personality back into herself.
Let us wish for her that she will have better balance and better strength and more appetite, that she will return to her cheerful little self
just like her mama did
And let’s also take a few moments to think about whatever the heck miracles might be.
I shared about Noelie’s story before going off grid for the weekend
Because my heart was heavy and I didn’t know how to do anything else
But also because I had this inkling that positive thoughts might work, and asking would be harmless.
I thought of all the many friends my little parrot has made, with her sweet nature and kisses and all the times she has posed for photos, the happiness she has distributed
I thought, if any of her many friends were to pause for a moment and think of her, let their hearts go out to her
Maybe there would be something to it?
It seems like probably there was!
I wanted everyone to know that whatever we have been doing together in this project, it seems to be working!
Now if you’re looking for a simple homework assignment, if you want to participate in this endeavor of willing my small bird back to health, this is the task:
Visualize her successfully grooming her lovely red tail and doing her bird yoga.
I will be home with her again soon - and my poor hubby as well, of course - and my visualization is holding her again. I know and trust that she will be there to greet me, that she has another week in her.
That she may be stronger and healthier in a week than she is today.
As may we all.
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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