and as he watches over me, his sweet song riding the cool breeze flowing
from one window to the window across the room. Repeat the moment…
Repeat the moment… Forever, repeat the moment. Crazy stuff. But I still feel
the same sentiment.
For now, I have his food bowl. On one of my worry-laden nights of so
many years ago, I opened the door of a rural discount store only a 10 minute
walk from my Ravenna dive. The store had the grittiness of cigarette-smoke
discolored walls, a dingy drop ceiling and an interior reminiscent of the 1960s.
As I surveyed the scant selection of pet products on the worn, beige, display
unit, a little, yellow bowl caught my eye. Although the bowl had a label with a
picture of a gerbil, it was not only the right size for my intention, but it was also
weighted to prevent spillage. I wonder whether the designer, the production
line worker or the retail stocker could ever know the attachment and love that
would find that bowl. I remember the first time I held it. Its weight tugged at
my palm as my fingers comfortably wrapped around its slick, plastic surface.
How could such perfection be found in such an imperfect surrounding? It
was the last one on the shelf. The last one! And it was mine. Mine to give to
a baby bird who was waiting just for me.
If I were rational, I'd move his bowl from my kitchen counter top. I'd put
a red heart sticker on it, just like I did so many times in the past. I'd keep the
bowl next to my computer. Every now and then, I'd toss it into the air, just like
I used to toss Byrd into the air. Byrd would like me to do that. But I can't.
Although I dismantled his cage, Byrd's food is still in the freezer and
his little, yellow bowl is still on my kitchen counter top, neatly tucked into the
corner—the same corner that it's been in for over 18 years. The bowl sits
atop a translucent plastic container lid—the same lid that I used to cover his
food as it soaked to softness. I notice the bowl everyday as I prepare my own
food. The bowl has been untouched for well over a year. I can't move that
bowl. I can't touch that bowl. It's his. The space is his, too.
Doug can be contacted at or
He will soon release “Herman and the Hawk,” a story of the struggles
of a young man and the guidance of a mystical hawk.