Snow Drops

Trying to walk home quickly in the storm, you notice drops of blood in the snow in front of you, leading away into the woods.

I fret over the blood droplets and wonder what animal left them there. I follow the droplets, crazy as I am, since the storm is flourishing. Then as I approach it’s like God knows I want to help. The storm lessons. I skip around a conifer tree following the droplets and up in the tree on a branch six feet above me perched a barred owl. His wing is disjointed.

I pull my phone out of my pocket to look up a local wildlife rehabilitation center. I dial the number and explain the owl’s situation and where I am. I promise to stay here though,I doubt the owl will fly away with an injured wing.

I waited it seemed like forever so I talked to the owl in hushed tones and named him Jasper. Then I heard a car door slam and heard the swish of footsteps around the bend. The two helpers had climbing equipment,a net, and bandages. One helper climbed the tree and coaxed the owl into the net. He climbed down then the other helper laid a warm blanket on the ground and they laid Jasper on the blanket to examine the injured wing.

Owls don’t do well in captivity, because they cling to the helper and then it’s not safe to release them back into the wild. The helpers gently and quietly reset the owl’s wing in the wild and held Jasper to the blanket for thirty minutes with gloves on so they weren’t injured in the process.

After thirty minutes they gently released the barred owl. The owl slowly stood up and spread its wings slowly and eventually to full wingspan. The owl hopped toward me as if to say thank you then flew far away. I thanked the helpers from the rehabilitation company and they went on their way.

As I began my trek home the storm started up again and I heard Jasper call “who cooks for you, who cooks for you all, who cooks for you, who cooks for you all.”

It made my heart happy to help Jasper. I finished my trek home with a bigger heart.

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