Birds are amazing. When you look at them, you can’t figure out how they fly. The Wright brothers learned that their bones are light, their feathers perfectly arranged, but the physics of it all escapes me.

Last Friday, one literally fell out of the sky in front of me. Thinking it was probably just hurt, I picked the little guy up. You don’t get a lot of chances to look at a bird up close — seams of scarlet along his wings, a long, sharp beak, penetrating eyes. He was a beautiful little reminder of the wonder of creation, but all the life had gone out of him.

I carried him across the street to Riverfront Park, laid him down by a tree and covered him with some leaves. “Sorry, little buddy.”

That moment stuck with me all day. Birds are supposed to fly, not fall out of the sky at your feet — not exactly a great omen to kick off your day. Like the stoner dude in that classic “Double-Rainbow” YouTube clip, I wondered: “What does this mean?”

All over, weird stuff like that is happening — good and bad. Russia is helping us control chemical weapons, and Iran called the White House, you know, just to chat. Did not see either of those things coming. Ted Cruz reads Green Eggs and Ham aloud to America as a bedtime story before shutting down the government and unplugging the Panda Cam at the National Zoo. Are the inmates finally in charge of the asylum?

The rest of my Friday was quite pleasant. I watched as the ribbon was cut on a new stretch of the Centennial Trail, big smiles all around. Locally, at least, we can still accomplish great things. Later, we had an open house, and I reconnected with old friends and made some new ones. We are social creatures and should figure out how to be happy together.

Cleaning up after the party, we found a couple of kegs from River City and Orlison left over. The beer guys were down at the Craft Brew Festival at Riverfront Park and couldn’t pick them up. Knowing the cardinal party rule of “Waste No Beer,” I loaded them into my Subaru and drove down there. Rain was falling, and the crowd had dispersed; the brewers were huddled under a couple of tents, sharing their concoctions and some laughs. Social creatures, those brewers, and happy. I delivered the kegs, along with some leftover pita bread and tapenade, and walked back to my car through the misty drizzle.

I stopped, realizing that same tree was just behind me. I went to look — maybe to complete the circle of my day. The bird was still there, under the leaves. I paused for a moment; mortality always clarifies your thinking.

Strange world, great day, I thought. Thanks for the reminder, little bird, to just keep flying. 

Monday Funday: Storytime at the North Bank @ Riverfront Park

Mon., July 26, 11-11:45 a.m. and Mon., Aug. 9, 11-11:45 a.m.
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About The Author

Ted S. McGregor Jr.

Ted S. McGregor, Jr. grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep high school and the University of the Washington. While studying for his Master's in journalism at the University of Missouri, he completed a professional project on starting a weekly newspaper in Spokane. In 1993, he turned that project into reality...