Bird On

Like everyone across the country, I am deeply saddened by the shootings in Connecticut. It is simply unimaginable. Sadly, many of us have gotten used to these public rampages, but this one was different. Kindergartners. Lots of them. This one hit especially close to home as my wife and I are both teachers, and Evan, the Captain of our birding team, is in Kindergarten. I cannot imagine the hell those parents are living or how those remaining teachers will pick up the pieces.

I didn’t hear the news until late in the school day, and so I walked out of school with a heavy heart. As I got near my vehicle in the parking lot, I was startled by a Bald Eagle that was flying low about 30 yards from me! Wow. They are amazing birds but even more so up close. It was an unexpected encounter, and I tried to fumble for my phone to snap a pic. But I was too slow and all thumbs, and the moment was gone before I knew it. Regardless, I found myself wanting to get home just a little bit quicker to share this news with my birding buddy. My five-year-old was at home – safe. That was treasure enough on this day. This news that I was about to bring him was just the icing on the cake. It was a reminder that life moves forward and that we need to spend our time cherishing our loved ones and doing the things that make them tick.

I finally arrived home and was gathering my things out of the car when out of my peripheral vision I noticed something flying. Looking up I saw a Trumpeter Swan flying low and alone over our cul-de-sac! What?! We just had a blizzard last weekend dumping nearly 18 in. of snow, and the temps have been below zero over night. Once again I couldn’t get my phone out fast enough. Now I really couldn’t wait to get in the house to tell Evan about my sightings. As I came into the house he was in the entryway, and I told him I had two pieces of exciting news. Before I could share my news, he replied, “Dad! Dad! Me too! I just saw a Trumpeter Swan flying!” To be able to share a moment like that on any day would be special, but on this day it was a moment to remember.

Life is fragile, but it’s beautiful and worth living. So hug your kids extra tight today and bird on.

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