Illumination came in the form of a small, brown bird. The tiny creature twisted about its wings all aflutter unable to free itself from the plastic bag that pinioned it to a hawthorn branch. Only when the bird lifted its head high enough as if to plead for help did I see its gleaming, red breast and know it for the Robin it was.
Reaching the Robin proved difficult. I stepped into an — as luck would have it — empty drainage ditch and just managed to reach up to the branch it hung from. I carefully unhooked its leg, the bird too exhausted to resist, and with my wife’s guidance from higher ground achieved the bird’s untethered freedom.
The Robin plunged downwards, opened its wings, and flew into the hedge not far from my boggy stance. The little thing looked around bewildered as if to wonder how it had got there, then sped away like a smudged bullet.
Illumination was mine that day not because I went without thanks, but because I did what others hadn’t: I did my best. I think that’s all we can ever ask of ourselves, and then take personal pride in its achievement.
This is a true story unlike most things I write. I often think the truest ones are the hardest to believe, which makes them all the more special.