I was lighting a fire in the wood stove a couple nights ago and it was burning briskly (no shortage of tinder in a freshly unpacked house). I was just shutting the door to the stove when small bird shot through the flames and landed on my chest, clenching my sweatshirt and calming surveying the room. We've all seen panicked birds, trapped in places they don't want to be, crashing into windows, but this bird was different. After resting a bit on my chest, the bird flew around a bit, exploring. The picture I wished I would have gotten was when it landed on the kitchen counter next to a stack of books - all the books for the coming Book Club meetings - and looked for all the world like it was reading the titles. I was too busy running around, looking for something to catch it while keeping one eye on it, to think to snap the photo. Without a better plan, and given the very calm behavior of the bird, I just reached out my hand and picked it up. It didn't even struggle, it just looked at me while I took a couple pictures, then flew away when I opened the door, stood on the deck, and opened my hand.
I've thought about this bird since then, and how it obviously came down the chimney somehow, and faced with a fire elected to fly through the flames and into the room instead of away from the heat, back up the chimney. I can't help but feel there was a bit of a lesson there for me, maybe for all of us. When things got tough, the bird didn't panic. It embraced the experience, and it learned from it. Most importantly, it accepted a helping hand . . . .