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Lessons from a Bird

By August 4, 2019April 24th, 2024No Comments

On the opening day of Complex’s new headquarters in L.A., I showed up early to settle in to the office, located on the second floor of a plaza in West Hollywood. But the doors were still locked, and with hours to go before anyone would arrive, I went to a nearby balcony to check out the street below.⁣

That’s when I saw a pigeon flapping its wings violently and appearing to have a seizure at the steps of the building’s entrance. I watched from above as passersby gawked in disgust at the animal, until a custodian came to the rescue and retrieved the bird from the ground with his hands.⁣

I remember thinking how kind it was that he came to help the bird, until I saw him a few moments later empty-handed with the pigeon nowhere to be found. After walking down a long corridor to a deserted smoking area, I found the bird facedown on the ground, still flapping its wings. I rang local animal hospitals for help, and the only one that answered said they‘d send someone and would call me when they arrived. ⁣

I stayed with the bird in this lonely corner of the building for the next hour until the shaking and flapping stopped, and it never moved again. I sat down, sad that I had watched this animal die in such a manner. ⁣

When I returned home later that night, my mom asked about the day, expecting to hear about my new coworkers and any articles I might have written. Instead, on the verge of tears, I told her about the bird. ⁣

She would point out that the hospital was likely never going to send anyone out for a pigeon (they never did call me back). She also assured me that I had a good heart for trying to do something. Still, I had no idea why something so inconsequential had affected me so strongly. ⁣

That was in 2014, and a few months later, my grandmother passed away. A year after that, mom was diagnosed with cancer. ⁣

I still think about that morning, trying to find some meaning in it.⁣

But some things don’t have to be overly complicated, and are instead as simple as sitting by someone’s side — especially when things are dire and you don’t know how they’ll turn out — and showing them they are not alone.

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