A man whom I considered very wise once brought to my mind that the meaning to life can be found in our relationships. Whether this is true or not is a question to be left to my betters. Whether or not this idea can be tested is an area in which I have some experience. Is it not strange that the small moments in life are the ones most poignant?
Allow me to draw back about seven years. My family and I are currently living at the Coast Guard Yard. Ours is an abode of a very small area, though the view of the dock can cause one to overlook such an inconvenience. Entertainment is rather sparse in this area. My brother and I spend our hours throwing random objects at each other from behind beds and such. With only one TV and few other possessions, one would not expect much to happen in such an area. I certainly do not.
Now, Truth introduces a new character to this drab scene. One Sunday afternoon, my family and I prepare to retire to our small abode, but we are taken aback by an unexpected guest. A light gray Columba livia domestica (pigeon) has taken shelter under our vehicle. As I make chase for it, the avian fellow begins to pick up step rather than take flight. We show concern, and eventually, we manage to catch the seemingly handicapped flyer. We begin to test its abilities. The pigeon cannot even perch on a branch properly. My father tosses it. It does not fly. It does not even glide. It only falls more slowly.
I decide to observe the creature a bit more closely. Looking closely, I can see that what seems to be a wildlife tag has been pressed into its left leg rather than around it. I never really know, but I assume that this is the cause of its ailment. We care for the bird by allowing it to nestle under a bush outside our front door. We feed it regularly with bread crumbs and water. It hardly ever moves or speaks. I watch it as it goes to sleep around dusk.
Three days later, it no longer cuddles itself in its down as usual. Its head is flopped to the ground, exhausted. I think that it might have gotten sick overnight. Its breathing has even vanished. I try to prod it. It gives no response. This is a small grief at best, but a grief nonetheless. Perhaps the one factor to this tragedy that makes it so memorable was the burial. The honorable procedure would have been an earthly grave. This feathered patron is given a common street trash can as a resting place. An insignificant relationship? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it’s one I’ll never forget.