There were tears in her eyes, my daughter’s, as she led me up to the terrace “Look what they’ve done dad,” she wept. I stared with horror. The bird, a pigeon, hung by its neck, held by a thin string, one end of which was attached to a tree. Looking with pity at the lifeless body I reached out to the dead bird and found the same string was tied all round the little mite. “They tied her up dad,” she cried and then hung her there to die!”
“No,” I whispered. “It hanged herself.” My daughter looked at me with disbelief. “Are you suggesting suicide dad?” she asked angrily. “No,” I said, “it flew into a lot of loose string and died trying to untangle itself.
We pulled down the miserable creature and I could have sworn there was a look of absolute shock and surprise on its little face.
I wondered what the little bird could have done to free itself. Maybe sat quietly on a branch, carefully scrutinized the string and slowly picked at it with its beak. I looked at its beak, a petite, insignificant, pint sized attachment. Good for catching minute, helpless worms, but not strong enough to yank cruel string.
“You know,” I told my daughter as she cradled her dead feathered friend, tears freely rolling down her cheeks. “There’s nothing on earth it could have done to have untangled itself from the ruthless string.”
She looked at the bird, then looked up at me. “No dad I don’t agree, “she whispered, “who was it that finally took the string out, though too late?”
“I did,” I said.
“If it had come to you before it died you could have saved its life!”
I nodded and then felt an unease all around me. “There’s string on us too,” I exclaimed. “Strings of problems, worries, doubts and fear especially during these Covid times!”
I went down to my study and thought of the little bird, struggling with all its might to get rid of the diabolic thread, and slowly getting more and more entangled till finally that harmless looking piece of yarn, snuffed out its light.
I felt the same unease and knew the string of troubles, dread and despair were slowly, yet surely suffocating my life too. Unpaid bills, treacherous enemies, unforgiving friends, unresponsive loved ones.
The noose was tightening and my breathing getting slower.
It was just a matter of time I thought, before the difficulties around would choke me to death. “No,” I shouted, “I don’t want to be like that dead bird!”
Kneeling, I felt the hands of my Maker, slowly, pulling out each dreaded thread that was wrapped around me. And then I looked up and smiled, as I felt the air rushing back into my lungs.
He had untangled me and I flew free..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org