Understanding

I was busy with the business of grieving, in the middle of the day, in the middle of my bed – loud, sniffling, snuffling, wailing messy stuff. A gallon of tears into it, I felt the bedspread being pulled. Mid-wail I stopped, looking towards the edge of the bed when my 3-year-old Umbrella Cockatoo’s head popped up over the edge. He’d not only figured out how to climb the carpeted stairs to the 2nd floor, but also easily scale the bedspread. “Koeie?”, I sniffed.

He popcorned across the bed, rushing towards my face. I pulled away in surprise, protectively throwing my arm across my face. “Koeie”, he whispered from the other side of the barrier, using his tiny baby voice, the one reserved for when he was feeling especially sweet.

I peeked over the top of my arm. He mirrored my movement, peeking at me from the opposite side. He leaned forward, pushing my arm down, leaning his head into my face. In awe I watched as he delicately licked tears from the corners of my eyes.

“Koie, I hurt”, was all I could whisper. In total comprehension, he sat back, as if he had haunches, then thrust himself forward, giving the appearance of bowing down, his beak stopping a fraction of an inch above the soft bedcovers. Back and forth he rocked, a soft low keen deep in his chest, building in pitch and intensity with each upward swing of his body.

His eyes closed, he continued to rock, keening so intense and heart-wrenching, it left me feeling inadequate, that somehow mine had been a paltry, half-hearted display. My despair put on hold, I soothed him, assuring him repeatedly, “it’s okay……….it’s okay…….I love you……it’s okay”.

At some point, he shook himself from head to toe, all feathers standing at attention, then gently settling down in their proper place. This behavior is common to all parrots – a way in which they seem to shift from one mood to another, especially when settling down to “normal”.

Once every feather was back in place, he flung himself into my arms, curling into a tight ball, his face buried deeply into my chest, moans escaping with each of his sighs. We stayed that way, quietly cuddling together until the afternoon light melted into early evening twilight.

Many try to explain away parrot behavior as nothing more than mimicry. KoeKoe’s compassionate commiserating once again proved human assumptions to be fallacious, not only in the way creatures are viewed, but also the Creator. My view of God had once again been far too small.

Romans 1:19-20 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse………


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