Monday, December 03, 2007

Everything really does happen for a reason

The original Rainbow when I had her.
On Friday when I got to my car to go to the yoga retreat, I noticed that the passenger window was shattered. As I closed my driver's door to go back inside, the shattered glass splintered to the ground. Turns out a stone from the gardener's weed-wacker had hit the window and broke it. To cut a long story short, it was highly inconvenient. It kept me back as I knocked out remaining glass and vaccuumed the splinters. I couldn't do anything more about it then (like get a new one) because I would have been late for the retreat. So I covered the window with a large garbage bag stuck down with duct tape ... then tossed the scissors and tape into my car, driving off, figuring I would deal with the window on Monday (which I did, this morning).

Had this not happened, I would have left earlier and gone to an art exhibition at the Museum and driven over the Lady Young to get there. But because my car would have been 'open' and because I was late, I decided to go straight to the retreat via Santa Cruz.

Had I not taken this route I would not have rounded the bend by Royal Bank in Maraval (Boissiere) and seen a net hanging from the roof of a building with a Rainbow trapped in it (I now see all grey pigeons as Rainbows). The poor thing was flapping helplessly in the afternoon sun and everyone stuck in the traffic was no doubt seeing it. I rounded the bend and pulled my car in front of the building. The businesses were all closed except for one that was selling water scooters. I asked them if they had a broom that I could use to free a trapped pigeon.

They looked at me in that dry Trini way, as if I was mad. "No, we don't have a broom."

"There's a pigeon trapped in a net at the back of the building," I said.

"Dat net is dere for dat purpose," the man told me. Apparently it's to prevent the pigeons from going under the awnings of the roof ... but somehow this one must have gotten trapped. "Leave it. When de man come he go deal with it."

Certain that this meant they would kill it or leave it to die, I said: "That is animal cruelty," and proceeded to the back of the building.

The side of the building was sheer, with a tiny ledge, about one inch wide. The steep side dropped to a large canal below. I am afraid of heights, so I could not go onto the ledge. I asked the we-have-no-broom man (w.h.n.b.) if he would climb out and he said no. My only option was to grip on to a wrought iron gate-like thing and lean over the canal, pulling at the net, trying to yank it down. The w.h.n.b. stood behind me, telling me that the wrought iron gate was loose and I could fall down into the canal.

The more I yanked, the more the pigeon got flustered and kept beating up. Her neck was poking through a hole in the net. Her feet and wings were through other holes. She was truly trapped. I stopped yanking, realising the net was securely positioned and that my actions could kill the bird (e.g. she could break her neck or die of fright) rather than set her free.

My attempts to get a broom anywhere were futile. People passing in cars were either calling out or looking at me like I was crazy. Just then, someone I know and have not seen in ages, came walking by. I told him about the pigeon and took him to see it. When he saw the steep drop he grew pale (also afraid of heights) ... but he felt pained to see the trapped bird. He somehow found a broom and leaned across to try and poke it out of the net. This was not working. Cat calls from the passing traffic were growing louder.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a man in an orange t-shirt appeared and without a word, nimbly jumped up on to the one inch ledge. He walked out a bit on the tips of his toes and started to pull at the net. He was struggling, hanging with one hand onto the shaky gate. At one point he even let it go, to move precariously closer to the pigeon.

I then remembered the scissors I had in my bag. "Do you want scissors?" I asked him (even though the w.h.n.b. man had told me early on not to cut the net when I said I was going to).

The orange t-shirt man stuck out his hand and I placed the scissors into his palm. After about ten minutes of cutting, I heard a flapping noise and saw the grey and white of the pigeon streaking freely across the canal ... and out of sight.

The feeling I got in my heart cannot be described.

I couldn't wait for the man to get off the ledge. As soon as his feet touched the ground, I grabbed him and hugged him tightly and said: "Thank you!!! Thank you!! Thank you!! You are a hero!!" He couldn't even speak. He seemed overwhelmed by my enthusiasm and gratitude. He stood there beaming and smiling with grey and white feathers all over his face and then just went his way without ever saying a word.

It was a miracle and a huge symbol all at once. I was extremely light and happy. (A feeling which only intensified during the yoga weekend). As I drove off after the Rainbow rescue, I thought: "That's one of the best things that ever happened to me!" At that moment it felt like the best day of my life. It struck me then with surety: everything really does happen for a reason.

Had my car window not been broken by the gardeners, I would not have had the scissors with me.



Anonymous KD said...

Hi E:

It is all well and good that you tried to save the life of a trapped bird. It is very commendable - however, in the Trinidad of today - I would advise anyone to be EXTREMELY careful in how they approach someone else's premises in the name of trying to save a bird. We just don't know if the w.h.n.b. man had a gun - since it is so the norm these days - on him or anything and could have decided to just do away with you! I would never say don't try and save the life of an animal - or even another human being for that matter - but at the same time - we all have to be very careful about what we do and where - these days you just never know.

Anyway - glad to know that the bird was freed.

A message to all your blog readers - BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL OUT THERE!

9:04 AM  
Blogger Kikipotamus said...

Oh, Elspeth. I am sitting here just panting and crying and shaking as if I'd been there. I needed to hear this story. The Universe is so miraculous. Bless you for sharing this.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Malaika said...

Kd.. if we were to always question our actions before doing anything i could just imagine how life would be.. it gets me so angry when people make stupid comments like dat. when u are placed in a situation where u need help and everyone is too busy or just too caught up to care let me see how u feel if placed in that situation someday.

i was attacked on a train in D.C earlier on in the year and people sat there and watched no body did anything..maybe they thought like you and assume the man had a weapon... but just like the situation with the bird if a couple of people had helped me out i may not have experienced what i did. we are a very selfish society and too afraid to do anything anymore.

Great work.. Spec.. u shall be rewarded.

5:30 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

Sorry to hear about your attack, Malaika.

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi what a lovely story and very uplifting.
theres not much worse than a trapped pigeon. ive been trying to get some trapped pigeons in london freed from behind nets. TfL is putting nets up effectivly trapping the birds, they cant escape and will starve to death or stress. and there are babies squeaking in the nests and pigeons trying to get to them and cant.
its animal cruelty.
they put these stupid 'exit cones' in the net as a way to shut up the public when the public voice concern. But the 'exit cones' dont work and the pigeons dont use them at all they are USELESS!
and even if they did use one, that would mean the babies would starve.....

So when a good samaritan turned up to help free them, it was a miracle. so releived.

tonight someone came along to help me it was like miracle after a long hard stressful week trying to get them help.

loved your story and totally agree. the pigeons higher power, does move us in mysterious ways...... :-)

7:41 PM  
Blogger Elspeth said...

It's sad that pigeons are considered to be 'rats of the sky', hence a menace and hence the nets. But some of them do get lucky - or as you say, their higher power steps in to help in mysterious ways.

10:26 PM  

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