• Tammy Davis

The Dead Bird On My Deck

I had a dead bird on my deck. A cardinal. It was out there about a week before I could bring myself to get it to the trash.

Some people believe cardinals are reminders of loved ones who have passed. I love all the birds that come to my feeders, not just the cardinals, but this one bird, this dead bird on my deck, gave me a lot to think about.

Squirrels knock my bird feeders around, and the seeds spill on the deck. The squirrels get the bigger pieces, and the birds love hopping around for the little bits. This particular bird was probably having a feast when he got stuck under one of my plant stands.

The poor little thing literally broke his neck trying to pull his head out of the iron work that went up in the shape of a V. If he had only lifted his head the tiniest bit, he would have been free. The slightest adjustment would have made all the difference. Instead, he probably panicked. He continued pulling and pulling, only to make things worse.

I wonder if we are sometimes like that cardinal. Do we get stuck just like he did? Do we struggle and struggle when really all we have to do is lift our heads, our spirits, our hearts and be free? Could it be that easy? One slight adjustment? Change the angle and change our lives?

We all have our metal plant stands that trap us. Divorce. Loneliness. Depression. Addiction. Financial Woes. We struggle and pull. We are stuck in our bad habits – just like that little bird.


Don’t Try Harder, Try Different

We all want to be free. But, just like that bird, it’s hard to see the path. It’s easy to be in panic mode or victim mode for so long that it feels like all we know. Sometimes we keep trying hard when what we need to do is try different. I’m sure that little bird was pulling with all his might, but he needed a different strategy, a new approach. Why didn’t he just lift his head a tiny little bit? Every time I went outside to throw him in the trash, I wondered.

Why didn’t he just stop and take a breath? Well, because he is a bird, and he didn’t know better. We do know better, but sometimes we still don’t do it. What if we all could just stop and take lots of breaths? The sky was literally the limit for that beautiful bird, and the sky is the limit for all of us. We all probably have some issue where we need a different approach. We all need to lift our heads the tiniest bit.

I have a long list of things I hate doing, things that are hard for me, but loosening that bird and getting him to the trash can was right there at the top. I tried every day since I first saw him, but I couldn’t make myself do it. I put on gloves, and grabbed a broom, but this was not a sweep-away kind of job. Prying his head loose seemed like more than I could do. I think it reminded me too much of the way I’m living my life.

I wanted to take the easy way out and get somebody else to do it for me, but, for whatever reason, I felt like it was something I needed to do. My bird, my lesson.

Waiting was only going to make it worse. The bird had to go in the trash, and I had to be the one to do it.

And like most things that we dread in life, the actual thing wasn’t nearly as bad as thinking about the actual thing.

His little head came up and out fairly easily, and he was light as could be.

We all have dead birds that need to go in the trash. We all have the tools we need to fix the problems. The trick is making ourselves do what needs to be done.

During that dead-bird-on-my-deck-week, I would look the other way every time I went outside. That bird wasn’t going anywhere. The situation was only going to get worse. Same with life. Looking the other way won’t help. Dead birds must go in the trash can. Problems need to be confronted and resolved.

I’m glad people are comforted when they see a cardinal. Cardinals are special to me now, too, but for a different reason. Cardinals will always be a reminder to think about what might be keeping me trapped. Bad habits? Bad relationships? Bad attitudes? I am going to try to not be a bird brain. I am going to try my best to lift my head, just a tiny bit, just enough to set myself free.

TD


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