I can still see the railing, the water, you by yourself beginning to kick your feet. I can see who I was then – I can feel her sorrow as she begins to weep.
You and I met before I could hear, before I knew you were a messenger purposely on my path. At that time, you were “just” the youngest of seven or eight who needed a second chance. Your siblings grew faster and would push you out of the food line; that you would grow bigger, another home you needed to find. A screened in porch became that place. I still smile at the unlikely friendship you and Hansey made.
I have pictures of you following your friend and I, your tiny frame pushing through the grass. Head thrust forward as if that could help you travel fast. One of your favorite things much to Hansey’s dismay; you loved his outdoor pool to play. An old tub filled with water for when Hansey got too hot – after that relentless pursuit of a tennis ball when he would decide to stop. I’m not sure which memory brings a greater smile; both bring laughter to relive. Hansey laying down in that old tub after unending fetching or you swimming laps in what he felt was clearly his.
I reflect on that time in life and what you may have been trying to teach me. Both of us were in our infancy, weren’t we?!
Right away I think of you and Hans. Two “people” that definitions and perceptions dictate should never get along; a bird dog and a duck – it’s fair to say you proved everyone wrong. He may have acted a little disgruntled when you curled up on his bed, but it was more because he was an only child not used to a “sibling” or guest. Fear was not present, nor hate. Both of you kept stereotypical and negative influence at bay. You saw past Hansey’s skin, his shape, his ‘supposed to be’ personality traits; he saw past your feathers, past you ‘supposed to be’ who he hunts not who he keeps out of harm’s way. An unlikely friendship when you at your most vulnerable state. Certainly something for us two-legged humans to learn I must say.
At that time I didn’t think about your determination and the depth of your strong will. Your fighting spirit no matter how much things seemed uphill. You had in common with your family being part of a rejected nest before you pushed through the shell that held you within; a heat lamp was the catalyst for your life to begin. But it was that point that commonalty ended and differences took hold; when your family rejected you as the ‘runt’ and it was time for you to go. You left a world where though you didn’t fit in at least you were surrounded by familiarity; you entered a new world on your own – alone – and very much in need. You gave your trust even if your intuition may have been whispering this is not how life should be; you accepted love even if your heart was nudging “you should be among others with wings”. Your will to live stronger even if you now felt even more different and ‘not enough’ to fit in; greater in you an unconscious knowing there was purpose in this.
Flow with life, a core of you. In our infancy I’m not sure either of us knew. There is that expression about hindsight and when we look back we can more greatly see. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since another messenger came visiting. We cannot become who we are meant to be without the challenges, the stretches, the heartaches. If we try to avoid them, what we are meant to learn will come in other ways. And yet I ponder is there opportunity to trust more during the learning, to fight and resist less the need for control? Would the ‘ah-ha’ come sooner if we started out the lesson already letting go? Could it be like free-falling where though it seems scary to take the leap, as soon as we step off the edge we are supported and have all the safety nets we need?
What else you taught me was unconditional love through saying goodbye. And now I am watching who I was then with tears in her eyes. We couldn’t keep you, it wouldn’t have been fair to who you were meant to be. And we felt you stood a better chance if we took you to a sanctuary. They were closed for the day so to another person I could not hand you to. In a pond we let you go surrounded by others ‘like’ you. I thought of you often wondering if you had learned to fly. That it might be you I imagined when flocks soaring through the blue sky.
Fast forward years and a visitor on our pond all alone. Instant memories of another I had known. This messenger couldn’t seem to fly; staying near the only open water not already covered in ice. Shelled corn taken to the water’s edge so that he would have something to eat. In helping this winged fella, life’s way of circling. My mind knew it wasn’t you my dear Pip Squeak; but my heart felt a certain familiarity. No longer the sadness of letting go, no longer the guilt that I may have let you down; a trust in the ebbs and flows of life I have found. If I had known then what I know now, would it have been easier to let you go? Ah, but then again, without the pain I would have missed the purpose of what you wanted me to know.
The messenger on our pond soon joined by another pair; the next day our guest no longer there. Perhaps the pair gave him the extra courage he needed to fly; a buddy system nudging him to try. This time I knew it for the best that our messenger had to leave; happiness that he could find his wings. Born to fly, born to show the power of flowing downstream with life. Dear winged fella, go in peace wherever your flight leads. Thank you for visiting.
And thank you dear Pip Squeak. Thank you for being a gift before I fully knew the gift I had received. You may have been small physically, but you were a mighty duckling. Into our lives a special blessing. Though I’m sure it hurt you that your siblings felt you were in the way, their loss to serve a purpose of being our gain. True to life in how it teaches through opposites that all things and moments are orchestrated perfectly; sorrow and happiness are interwoven, harmonious balancing.
Yes, a small body you may have had, but oh so much bigger than all your siblings combined. Thank you for imprinting my heart and my life.