Thursday, June 30, 2016

I Try To Help

     I really do.  It’s just that sometimes you know in your heart that what you did is not enough.  And it’s not a happy moment.

     One such incident occurred in our front yard.  Maybe it’s because I’m retired that I pay attention more to the drama that occurs in the yard.  I shoo squirrels from our bird feeder.  I give a shout out to the robins building nests in my trees and in the crook of a downspout.   Then one morning there was a flurry of activity near a maple out front.  My wife peeked through a window and cried out that there was a robin’s nest that had fallen to the sidewalk below.

     I went out to inspect.  There were three fledgling robins on the sidewalk around the remains of their nest.  They were far too small to survive on their own.  One seemed to have died in the fall; the other two were barely breathing.  I left thinking maybe the parent robins would somehow try to intervene and save the youngsters.  But they did not.

     Later I checked again to find only one robin alive, but trying to stand upright on the sidewalk.  Its two siblings were dead.  This robin was slumped over and I expected him to expire soon.  But hours later, he was still standing at the same place on the sidewalk.  So Wendy and I took a broom and shovel, got him onto the shovel and put him under a bush.  He tweeted loudly when he looked up and saw me.  No, I said to him.  I’m not your mother.

     That evening I checked underneath the bush and the baby robin was gone.  Had a predator found him?  Perhaps a neighborhood cat?  Then I heard a loud “tweet, tweet, tweet” and here comes this baby robin bounding in my direction.  “No, no, no—I said I wasn’t your mother,” I told him. I quickly left the area, hoping the mother would swoop in to assume her role.  I never saw her, but I also never saw the baby again. I searched the yard for him or her, dead or alive.  Nothing.  It’s possible that maybe it survived.  But I honestly doubt it.

      A second incident occurred just today when Wendy and I drove to downtown Ann Arbor shopping for a gift.  We weren't successful so we were getting ready to head out.  We were parked on the third level of a multi-level structure and as we got to our car, we could see this other car trying to pull into a spot next to a concrete stanchion.

     We both waved to get her attention because she had zero clearance between the concrete pillar and the passenger side of her car.  She stopped moving so I thought she was okay (I didn't know it was a she at the time; I just assumed).  Then we heard a kerchunkety-KERCHUNK.  Oh, oh.  She must have hit it.  Then another kerchunkety-KERCHUNK.  She seemed bound and determined that the concrete roof support was going to move.  It didn't.

     She got out of her car, saw her predicament and became very  distraught.  Seemed about college age.  So we hurried over to see if we could help.  I was thinking we could guide her out of this mess but instead she handed her keys to me asking me to get it out.  Wonderful.

      So I tried going one way.  kerchunkety-KERCHUNK.  Not the right way.  And I could see the side view mirror on the passenger side going next if I went any further.  With Wendy's help we got her out of her spot without more damage, which was already substantial.  I didn't see it myself but I could tell by the look on Wendy's face when she checked it herself after the car was free.  Made me wonder if we should have intervened sooner.   In hindsight, yes.  The young girl thanked me anyway before driving away.

     You just wish your good deeds could turn out a little better.