letting go

last night, in my dreams, i rescued a duck with diabetes that was passing out on a northeast portland sidewalk.  it was in my old neighborhood, on the side streets that are still so familiar to my memory i can conjure images of the rooflines, trees, alleys and fences.  in my dream, i was walking home and a group of youngsters with haircuts stood around a duck.  the duck was obviously in distress.  i glanced into their backyard, where a young bear with forlorn eyes was trapped in a cage.  i swooped the duck up, said i'll take care of this, and swiftly walked on before they could react.  the duck was comfortable in my arms, and burrowed its beak inward to sleep as i walked the rhythmic fifteen blocks home.  and that was my dream. but in real life, it too seems as if i am always rescuing something. in my current roster to date, james and i have rescued: a cormorant, a beaver, three skunks, a flickr, two ducks, a few cats, a dog, a rat family, and more.... not to mention: our most current recruit, paloma the pigeon.

but this morning, i knew that paloma was gone.  after four days of food, water, and rest, she had recovered from whatever brought her to me in the first place.  she was ready to find home, to find her covey, her partner... because pigeons mate for life, they say.  the way she flew last night, out towards the bay, confidently into the blinding sun, told me so.  and the way she brushed my head so close, as if to say goodbye, told me so.  so when i asked james this morning, just as i cracked my eyes open, is paloma there?, i wasn't surprised when he said no.  even still, i was saddened by the news.  i cried, because i had hoped she would stay forever.  because, in the wide world full of houses and backyards and freeways, she picked me.  but, as the saying goes, if you love someone set them free.  i guess i'm still learning how to let go.

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