The story of George, a unique hero's journey

The fall

Three weeks ago, I woke up, washed my face, and sat for the morning meditation. It seemed like a typical morning; little did I know how it would change our lives.

While meditating, I heard the sound of a new bird I’d never heard before; it was pretty faint and blended with the other more noisy sounds of the many birds we have on the roof and in the garden trees. I noticed it and went on meditating. 

It was only after standing up and going to the window to open it and let the morning sun in that I saw him. Sitting there on the window sill with his fledgling black feathers, walking from side to side, trying to figure out what happened, where he is, what’s the best thing to do now, and mostly where the hell is Mom?

The way destiny works for us

I left the window closed; I didn’t want to scare the little creature; he seemed terrified enough. I went down to prepare sandwiches for the kids for school and forgot all about him. ‘He will figure it out,’ I thought, walking down the stairs, ‘his mother will find him soon; he will get back up into the nest he fell out of; I know that nest; it’s not that far, just a jump and a flutter of the wings away. All will be well.’

I came back an hour later to wake Noam up for school. George was still there on the window sill, contemplating his options. Now the sun was above the trees, and the window sill became quite hot… I showed him to Noam, who was mildly interested and went downstairs. 

Now he was on my mind.

The mother instinct in me kicked in; he cannot stay there for long, I thought, he will die of the heat and thirst… So after Noam left for school, I delicately moved the mosquito net from the window, trying very carefully not to scare him or make him fall; we were on the second floor, a fall to the ground would have been disastrous. 

There we were, George and I, right in front of each other, no net or window between us, both trying to assess who the other was, and mostly, George probably asking himself if he could trust me or if he had any choice in the matter.

Honestly, I didn’t know what to think, so I did what seemed like the right thing to do at the time, trying to prevent an even more traumatic fall to the ground; I took George in my hands gently down to the garden, where I left him to roam freely. I thought it was the best thing I could do then. I thought he’d be able to eat the chicken’s food and have some water to drink from the fish pond. He would thus be able to wander around in the shade instead of cooking upstairs on the window sill.

Our new family game 

When Noam returned from school, I told him what I did and that I named the bird George. For some strange reason, this name was the obvious one. Note that nothing until now was intentional in any way. This was just something that happened.

It happened to George first; then it occurred to me… Since then, George became my hero, falling out of the nest by unfortunate circumstances; my faith in him was unwavering. No matter what, I knew he would survive, which was questionable for the whole first week of his roaming the garden.

It became a daily thing to report who saw George, where and when, and how he seemed to us. As the days went by, he started drinking water from little bawls we spread around the garden, and he comes to eat, last in the pecking order from the chicken’s food and always from the side, far away. 

He doesn’t like being picked up, he has his trajectories around the garden, and he is still there, looking less depressed than before when he used to walk around the house looking up and crying heartbreakingly to his mom. She never responded, taking care of whoever was left in the nest after George’s fall. 

How George changed my life

George is my hero, and seeing him in the garden, makes my heart sing. He became important to us, and we all follow his progress with amazement and awe. He is growing, fluttering his beautiful wings more and more, and finding his way.

The reason I am telling you George’s story is that George reminds me of me, and possibly of many of you “unlucky,” “different” creatures who survive their circumstances and become leaders to other people who may have been more “fortunate.” That said, I actually believe everyone is like that. There is no such thing as a “normal” trajectory of life. We all have our misfortunes on the path. The way we deal with them is what makes the difference.

Why is George so important?

George fell out of his nest, out of his mother’s love, care, and attention. That makes him different and admittedly unlucky. I lost my beloved brother Tal in a terrible war when I was five. Tal was the most loving person I knew; I spent most of my first five years leading up to his death on his shoulders or in his arms.  When he died, I fell out of love, just like George; more than anything else, I became different. 

Despite all my efforts to fit in, I couldn’t anymore, just like the birthmark on my cheek; Tal’s death was a part of my life story that was there for good. It entirely changed my trajectory and made me who I am today. Tal’s death, just like George’s fall from his mother’s nest, had irreversible consequences. 

George’s unique circumstances had me pay attention to him. His coping with the situation became the story we as a family follows daily, infinitely more important in the general scheme of things than the news or other plots surrounding us every day. We relate to George as the survivor we admire, inspiring us in dire circumstances to find our way and overcome them. He changed the energy of our daily conversations; and has become a household member, like everyone else in the garden. 

I truly believe animals come to you for a reason, and we all better pay attention to the lessons they teach us. Nature is a big teacher beyond circumstances and for our greater good.

Your comments are more than welcome.

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