Saturday, February 04, 2006

Step #5: Will you be my friend?

Here's where you come in. Normally at the end of each conversation I have with someone in this project, I get the person (based on what we have discussed) to come up with a new question to ask the next person. The question asked here (Will you be my friend?) came from 7 year old Kajal who was Step #4a. Because the 'being' featured here cannot ask questions (at least to our general understanding), I would appreciate it if each of you will ask a question at the end, after reading this. In the words of that slogan used by the TTSPCA: We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Your questions are what I will use as the foundation for the next conversation in this series ...

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There once was a wing there. Those of you who follow up on the blog may recall my mention of Lady the pelican some days ago. She is the innocent 'being' I mentioned yesterday.

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In Detta's back yard: Lady on her roost in the large cage which she shares with the short tailed hawk (also one-winged). Because she will never fly again, Lady will be trained to sit on someone's arm and will be used by Detta as an educational bird.

An extract from the 'log' written by Detta Buch:
Jan 20, 2006
By 6 p.m. we were all in the surgery room with the pelican on the examination table. The humerus was very badly shattered and a 4 - 5 inch length of the bone was projecting dried and blackened. The bird was very dehydrated.
Sadly both Dr. Pyke and myself reached the same conclusion, then we noticed the imploring look on the faces of the young couple. It seemed to dishonour their generosity and caring, having brought the animal from such a distance, with such difficulty, only to be told effectively, that they had wasted their time. I suggested that the only alternative, if it survived, was a life on the ground and be trained and handled for education. They offered to support it, so we proceeded to carry out the amputation, removing the wing from the shoulder. Dr. Pyke's surgery was impeccable ...


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Detta handfeeds Lady with some Joshua (fish).
For the rest of her life, Lady will have to rely on humans for food.
You may wonder why I've put Lady at Step #5 and given her Kajal's question. The above photo indicates the care with which one has to approach this wild creature who, through no fault of her own, is suddenly required to live in 'captivity' (albeit caring captivity), interact closely with (and trust) humans - the very creatures who got her into this position. She does this with such grace. The first time we met, she allowed me to touch her feathers and stroke her head and neck. I've never touched a pelican before. She is a very gentle and brave bird... so soft ... and right under her skin are little air sacs that feel somewhat like poppy bubblewrap. This protects her when she dives (or used to).
If Lady could speak (humanese) she would perhaps ask us that very question: Will you be my friend? Clearly those who killed her companion and damaged her wing were not 'friends'. It's amazing that after all that happened to her, she can still sit in a cage in Petit Valley and allow herself to be touched by us. There are different ways in which we can be friends to Lady ... from something as simple as buying a few pounds of Joshua (small sardine-like fish) and carrying it for Detta in Petit Valley, to contribute to the bird's twice daily feeding requirements. For the rest of her life that's a lot of fish - and a lot of driving around to fish markets for Detta to do on her own. For more information on how you can help and support ... contact Detta.
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You may wonder where all of this is going. What does a Pelican with one wing have to do with Trinidad & Tobago, with the "Prime Minister", with politics, with national issues ... with us?
Please leave your questions/answers below.


Blogger Kaivalya said...

I've given this project, and the questions you posed, a lot of thought. Particularly, I've wondered, is there a common thread in these questions?

At its heart, each question seems to ask us to step outside of ourselves, to reach out to others, to seek a unity with other people.

Here's my question - it's something I ask myself each time I walk into a room to teach a class:

How can I be of service? (In this case, to others, to my nation, to other beings).

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Rose said...

The idea of the pelican having to be dependent on the very beings who have tried to destroy her/him really struck me; if we could find that level of forgiveness and trust in ourselves maybe we could elevate humankind from a state of survival to a state of friendship to one another and all the creatures on earth.
The question I'd like to ask the pelican is 'what do you have to give up in order to find forgiveness and have trust in all of God's creation.'

1:47 PM  
Anonymous paula obe said...

I just wanted to leave a little food for begins...if we each did an act of love daily and unconditionally towards a family member, friend, stranger, self, animal, plant or thing, we could begin a very positive cycle of love, beauty and goodness.

paula obe.

2:50 PM  
Blogger thubtenkway said...

I am new here. If you good people don't mind I would like to share some of my thoughts here.

How can I be of service to others (all sentient beings)? should be a question that we ask ourselves every morning when we wake up. Reacting to silvergull.

There would be nothing to give up if we could forget immediately the injustices done to us. Not holding negative and malicious feelings in our hearts there is simply nothing to give up. Another way to look at this is the Ego. It seems that everytime we are hurt inside, it is our Ego and Pride that is the culprit:- Reacting to Rose

Acts of Love are wonderful and much needed in our world today but let us not forget that controlling our negative emotions like anger, hatre, aggression, jealousy, pride, etc. etc. is part of Love and Goodwill to all Mankind:- Reacting to P.Obe

11:43 AM  
Anonymous theglasshermitage said...

I love Kajal’s question so much, I think it should be written with stars across the sky. As I tell others about it, without fail, tears well up when I repeat the words, “Will you be my friend?” I don’t want to try to say it another way but I will offer the question asked of Jesus by the lawyer. You will find the whole exchange in the Bible at Luke 10:25-37. The lawyer wanted to know what he should do to inherit eternal life. And Jesus answered that in addition to loving God with all his heart, he should also love his neighbour as himself. The lawyer needed clarification on that last part and he followed up with the question, “Who is my neighbour?” This is where Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan...the man who didn’t make excuses like the others about why he shouldn’t stop to help the wounded man, but crossed all barriers to attend to what he recognized as someone in need. That wounded stranger became the Samaritan’s neighbour and he by his actions proved himself a good neighbour.

So often we make distinctions between people, the “them” and “we” situation, to distinguish between who is and is not deserving of our love and attention. I have heard many “good”, “religious” people saying without any hesitation that they only want to focus on their family and their family’s needs. They cannot be bothered with anything or anyone else. If we can do this to our own human kind, it is no wonder that lovers of all creatures great and small are frowned upon for expending energy and resources on birds and dogs, mere animals. So we continue to put on the blinkers. We erect these barriers to restrict our spheres of action and in so doing, the fewer “neighbours” we recognize, the less we will feel ourselves called upon to give of ourselves and resources.

So my satellite question in the shadow of Kajal’s blazing Sirius, is “Who is my neighbour?”

3:04 PM  
Blogger tracy j said...

Lady, I am sorry.
I apologise for those among my "superior" species that did this to you.

I thnk the problem with the Universe is that no body wants to say/wants to admit that they are wrong/that they were sorely mistaken.

There is no compromise anymore. We refuse to admit that we just possibly might have the wrong idea about a person, place, animal or thing.

If I am your friend - I would cherish you. I would realise that my thiking may not always be the best thinking.

If I am a friend of nature - I would respect her boundaries. I would understand that God made her beautiful in his sight and I would cease to be ignorant in my thinking.

If I was a friend... I would (have to!) learn the value of sayiing truthfully... I am Sorry

8:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful story. I don't feel sorry for the pelican because, like all of us, she is a survivor. Some of us have broken wings, clipped wings, lost our wings...but inside, all of us desire to fly. So Ms. Pelican, thanks for the inspiration, the fact that, broken, you survive in the fullness of being, not necessarily lesser because of one wing, just we feel sorry for you? Do we applaud you? It all depends on whether we see you as a survivor or a victim.

9:07 AM  
Blogger thubtenkway said...

I think Compassion would be a better word to use here. Somebody who has a good heart naturally has compassion.
People help out of a good and kind heart to relieve the suffering of others, animal or otherwise, isn't that so?
Mind is the primary qualification for a sentient being. As long as Beings have a body and a mind, there will be suffering and an animal is a sentient being too with human-like emotions.
I think there is nothing more noble than acts of relieving the sufferings of others through our generousity of speech, physical care and giving.
I wish that I can do more than all these fancy words here.

A Survivor or not, the Pelican is deprived of it's natural function and surrounding through the loss of a wing, suffering great pain and loss and this is something to sympathise with, don't you think so?

12:42 PM  
Anonymous Vee said...

Dearest Lady Pelican
It seems to have been part of your journey to suffer in this way so that light could be placed on our darker spaces.
Thank you for this playing this role.

Dearest Lady Caretaker (Detta)
It seems to have been part of your journey to care for birds and love animals in the profound selfless way that you do.
Thank you for carrying out this role.

Dearest Lady Happy Hippy
It seems to have been your journey to bring uplift, inspire, shift perspectives and create awareness in self and others.
Thank you for carrying this role.

You requested some questions
Thinking about the current question
‘Will you be my friend?’

here’s mine…

Am I ‘willing’ to be a friend
Am I ‘willing’ to be your friend
In the name of Love…

3:11 AM  
Blogger aka_lol said...

It seems strange to some that others are as concerned for animals as much as they are concerned for people. The truth is that those who put a value on animal life way below human life obviously haven't made the "life connection" just yet. Man's "intelligence" has given him the misguided notion that the World was created for the good of mankind and everything that exists is there for only man's good. Because animals don't pollute the air, contaminate the ground, lie to their fellow animals or go to law school doesn't make them inferior, but in fact make them superior.

We (mankind) are suffering form a superiority complex brought about by years of looking for ways to be "King". Lack of intelligence about our own intelligence can make us potentially destructive forces. Intelligence must count for something and is only useful when it is used to help others as well as ourselves. My question is this, When will we humanize our intelligence?

5:58 AM  

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