I’m in Miami, at a meeting related to a new research protocol. I took a walk around prior to the start of the program, and when I was approaching my hotel after strolling by the water I found a lovely, red-cheeked cockatiel, squawking on the ground. Perhaps escaped from the confines of domestic life, or perhaps abandoned by those who could no longer care for him, he appeared ill-equipped for life on the streets of Miami. There are strong weather currents about, and his yellow plume was ruffled in the wind.
“Here, birdy!” I crouched next to him.
He appraised me with distain. Squawk!
“C’mere sweetie!” He started to waddle away from me. I’m not sure he could fly. Squawk!
He awkwardly moved towards a concrete wall and sat there.
I wanted to pick him up or pet him, but wasn’t sure that would make him feel any better. I had no vehicle, no way to take a bird in my hotel room, and a meeting to attend in less than an hour. There were only a few hotel staff around, running too quickly to acknowledge me, let alone stop to help a distressed cockatiel.
So I left him sitting, facing the wall, this vibrant, lovely creature. And I wept for my helplessness, my weakness, my limitations. I cried for the beings of the world that can do nothing but face the insurmountable barriers before them and shriek, and I shed hot tears that beautiful, living things are often discarded like trash.
I wish things were different.