Its been a week of rescuing small creatures; first a dragonfly caught in the bathroom of an arts centre, bashing against a closed window that was sealed shut all except for a finger’s width of a gap; an adventure to get in, near impossible to get out. I cupped the tiny creature in my hands and carried their pulsating life-force, which felt like holding a miniature electric fan, through all the corridors and busy cafe lounge – people staring at my hands, which looked like they were held in what looked like some sort of prayer – to be released by the riverside. Then there was a spider to be ‘saved’ from my shower, a bee caught against the patio door as I painted, a damselfly that gripped onto my leg for over twenty minutes on a blustery day until I found them a safe haven in the long grass (see the video below and more photos here).
Yesterday, it was a yellow and brown chick with large feet – a partridge, we later decided. The first time we met, I lifted him from the road in front of my car where he was ‘shouting’ and placed him safely on the grassy verge, hoping a parent would come to claim him but when I came along that stretch of road a couple of hours later, I could still hearing his persistent cry and parked up to find him still wandering around in the road, a long distance from the place I had left him and now even more distraught and shivering. While I tried the local rescue people (no reply), the vet (no reply) and ran through ideas of what to do next. In surprisingly short time, help came in the form of a lovely soul who pulled up to check everything was OK and told me about a woman ‘Pat’ living nearby who would know what to do (and so she did – I had to wait for a while for Pat to return home but when her car pulled up, ‘my’ chick was promptly taken to the house of a veterinary nurse who takes care of waifs and strays).
After our hour together, I said goodbye to noisy, determined Frank (it felt like a ‘he’ and the name just came to me) and wished him all the luck in the world on a journey that was already turning out to be very different to the norm by partridge standards. Traffic on that road was getting much heavier now, as the end of the day approached, and he had, at least, struck it lucky by being taken off it as nor everyone would have taken the time to stop for him or even seen him there.
Next morning, the sensory-memory of Frank was still strong when I woke very early to the sound of those other very-determined life-forces, all the young bird families that feed in my garden. I could still feel him cupped between my two hands, soft and small yet so eager to push out of them, to be free, to assert who he was and what he wanted…usually to scramble up to nestle on my chest, nearest my heart while I made phone-calls or waited for Pat to arrive home. The memory of that whole indefatigable life-force of him stayed with me long afterwards – resilient, strong, determined; he was certainly going to have his say, come what may. The dragonfly was the same; like an electric charge beating tiny wings loaded with life-force and utterly driven to get back out into the light and to that river, I knew with absolute certainty what I was holding there – the very essence of life.
In that same sleepy doze of my morning something else popped into my head, a potential challenge, a clash, in my day, and my stomach briefly trembled with the force of butterfly wings caught in a jar, then quickly subsided as I re-found the broader perspective that said ‘OK, change of plan but all is well’. How often did I once (in another lifetime, when all did not feel well) wake to that same trembling feeling, multiplied by a factor of a thousand; how often, more recently, had I come to equate the same feeling with excitement, pure and radiant, like the very nectar of being alive? This feeling is our own life force, made tangible like our very essence turned into a small creature asserting our demand to be heard, to have our needs met, bashing against the seemingly enclosed walls of experience (whether that be the smallest gap between window panes or the kindest of cupped hands, supporting and assisting us); our will to survive, to thrive, to be HERE is the essence of us, made tangible. An electric life force we are, in our most essential form, and those things we push against and react to – challenges, experiences, opportunities that make blood turn to sparkles – are the things that allow us that essential thrust into life, the opportunity to assert ourselves, to feel our own energy-charge, to declare our very will to be alive having an experience. Feeling all of this is why we came here, after all!