To Spike, by Charles Wood

Occasionally I like to publish something not having to do with coyotes.  I’m hoping you all enjoy this as much as I did.

A couple years ago there was a cockatiel at my nearby park. I took photos of him(?) for as long as he was around there in the wild. One day he just wasn’t there. Maybe it was the park cat that got him, maybe a Cooper’s hawk, maybe he moved on. But last week I finally got around to writing a eulogy for Spike. I hoped that you might enjoy it. It is heartfelt, but there is some humor interspersed because he, after all, was a ‘mere’ bird.

Spike with his flock

Spike with his flock

I know neither for how long he was able to live his natural and intended life among his wild cousins, nor how old he might have become. All I do know is that for exquisite and incomparable moments he was free. The cage abandoned, he used that freedom not solely for his own will. Instead Spike made many friends. He adopted a flock, more so than they having adopted him, and he became their early warning system. Though the flock measured their own distance from Spike, Spike nevertheless was always first to call the alarm and take flight from danger, whether that danger came from the air or from the ground. Spike devoted himself not just to his own safety, but to the safety of his entire group.

We don’t know how Spike spent what were to be the final hours of his short life. We can imagine that day to have been for him like any other. Rising with the sun to preen with his compatriots and exchange greetings, ever watchfully searching for sustenance, and enjoying the many breaks he gave himself during his busy day: these acts were the fabric of his typical day.

All I know for certain is that Spike is gone, his watchfulness silenced, his chirping stilled forever. Somewhere a broken hearted child grieved for Spike having found his freedom from his cage. To that child I say, “Spike lived on”. I too grieve for Spike’s passing from my life. Yet Spike lives on. He lives in the gift he left us, the gift of his example of a life well lived.

Here is a link to the folio where Charles has Spike’s pictures online: http://photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=1013984

Spike

Spike

Dangers in the park

Dangers in the park

 

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