Friday, October 28, 2011

A Passing Conversation

On a warm autumn day, I finished my last appointment for the day.  I had some free time and sat on a cement flower bed that surrounded a young tree.  I took a number of deep breaths and asked for some inner guidance on which way to go.  I finally stood and walked east but stop in my tracks because I was pulled west. 
I strolled up a side street and looked at the surrounding the trees.  The leaves were slowly turning orange and I felt like I missed the changes that occurred over the past few days.  The branches were not completely bare but they were certainly thinning out.
I walked with my head down and someone walked by.  I felt a shift in my stance but I didn’t think to say hello.  I continued along the street and the next person that approached I smiled and greeted him with a hi. I was getting closer to starting a conversation with each person that passed.  I crossed the street and started to sing a little tune.
The thought of “speaking to people” came to me as I noticed the number 777 on a licence’s plate.   I looked beyond the car and there was a woman.  She was with a dog that was eating plants from a near by garden.   She held a leash in one hand and in the other hand two bags of bird seeds.  The bags were both large but the feed was low.  I finally approached with a smile and said hello.
She returned the greeting.  We made direct eye contact and that’s when our conversation started.  The dog was enjoying his meal of green leaves.  She stated that the dog wasn’t hers, it belonged to her neighbour.  Her dog died last year.
She told me how her dog ate these green leaves in gardens too. She didn’t know what drew her dog to only these types of leaves.
“One day I decided to try it and they are really sweet,” she told me with a look of surprise.  How did her dog know?  Reminiscing she rubbed a leaf between her fingers.  She only looked up when I reached out to touch it. 
She shared that her dog would eat new grass that was growing near water.  She spoke of her former pet with great love and admiration.  Within weeks of her dog death, it dug up roots of some plants to eat.  She described how intuitive her pet was even up to her dying moments.
I pointed to the bags of bird seeds, “You must have pet birds too?”  She lifted them and laughed slightly.  She said, “No, I feed the birds in the park.”  As I listened the dog sniffed the leaf in my hand and I feed it to him. 
She began to recall an experience with her beloved pet.  When they took a walk in that area a pigeon was lying still on the grass in the park.  They left the pigeon but when she returned there was an elderly Italian man standing over the bird.  He took care of ill pigeons, but he asked her if she would take this one home with her.  He gave her detailed instructions to care for the sick bird.  She didn’t question him and she decided it was the right thing to do.

At her home in a quiet room the bird didn’t move for three days.  On the fourth day, it finally rose and she brought it outside on her porch.  She watched the bird and it landed on its right side.  She knew that the pigeon was unable to be alone.  She carefully took it back inside.  The next day, she tried again, and the bird fell on its left side.  Again she knew that the bird was unable to be alone.  The following day the bird was outside and fell forward. Back inside they went.  The seventh day she tried once more this time the bird landed backwards.  She was very intrigued that the bird landing in the four directions of East, West, North and South.  The following days the bird flew a little bit and then became weak so she would take it indoors.  It took 12 days for the pigeon to completely recover.   She was surprised that the bird only pooped outside that whole time.  Ever since then she feeds the birds in the park where she found that ill pigeon.   
As she talked about her experiences with the pigeon she stated that people ask her why she helps animals and not homeless people.  She smiled and said, "there are many people helping the homeless. I feel that we need to help the animals." She felt that we have so much to learn from animals.  With that statement the dog on her leash decided he no longer wanted to wait quietly as we spoke.  He wanted to go to the park.
I thanked her for sharing her beautiful stories and she asked me what my name was.  Hers was Diane. The woman with the dog who feed the birds and has a loving heart.

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