Last week, I'm walking the stairwell in the parking garage, talking to God about the van.
"You're gonna have to show me what to do there, Lord. I continue in my cluelessness."
I look up and spy a dead male sparrow on the landing. I pause.
"You know, Lord, in some Native American cultures, that's a sign. Finding a dead animal is a negative response to whatever I was just thinking about. If I didn't know better, I'd say the universe is out to get me where that van is concerned."
I picked up the sparrow - yes, with my bare hands - and kept walking. I'm not leaving a corpse in the stairwell to pass four times a day until someone callously kicks it over the side and it ends up rotting in the basement level. Call me crazy, but I can't live with that.
Three more steps up and I hear rustling. Another bird is trapped between the stair rail and the giant windows that form two walls of the stairwell. This is a common occurrence. I've rescued four trapped sparrows and one bat since I started walking this parking garage.
"That's a pigeon. A brown pigeon. A brown pigeon with a sharp beak. Holy cow, that's a hawk!"
Now I know what happened to the sparrow.
The hawk is not happy to see me and its fluttering efforts redouble as it seeks a way out of its confinement.
Leaving the dead sparrow and my purse on the step, I pull on my winter gloves - yes, I put on gloves. Hawks have beaks that rip through flesh - and approached. I've grabbed a few birds in my time and this wasn't any different, other than the size (try to grab around the widest part of the breast with the wings folded to avoid injury to either of you). I had to turn him sideways to get him out of his tight spot.
Unlike the sparrows I've rescued, this hawk never took his eyes off me. He didn't blink. He didn't cry or snap his beak. He just glared, with a look remarkably similar to my cat Skuttle.
|You look delicious, mama.|
A few steps to open air allowed the hawk to fly away almost as soon as I opened my hands. I went back for my purse and the dead sparrow, who is now resting in peace in my front yard.
Does it mean anything? A hawk chases a sparrow into a parking garage stairwell window, killing its meal and trapping itself.
Have I been the hawk and the sparrow my issues with the van? Am I the sparrow who escaped the hawk of my problems by dying to self and letting God take me out of there? Is the sparrow the van and I should just bury it? So many possibilities.
I'm just grateful I was there to offer aid to both. A hawk shouldn't be trapped in a stairwell, and a sparrow shouldn't be left to mummify. That's as much meaning as I'm willing to ascribe for the moment.