Last year, while I was home alone, I had discovered something that sent a wave of shock through me. I had ventured into the basement for a work out when it was to my dismayed surprise that I noticed a very old robin stuck in our window well. I knew he was old because he he had grey tufts of hair surrounding his head like a halo, and the poor little guy didn't move very much. My fiance was out of town on business, so I initially panicked wondering how the hell I was going to retrieve the robin from the well and bring him to safety. After I took a few breaths, it became my mission to save him.
I went upstairs and outside to open the gate to the window well. I had no idea how the robin managed to get down there. When I peered down, I saw loads of spider webs and creepy crawly critters that immediately prompted vomit in my mouth. I tried getting Gandalf, (yes, I named the robin Gandalf for he was old and grey, and I loved him), out of the well by many means including a broom and a wiffle ball bat...not my shining moments of intelligence, but I was panicked and not thinking clearly. I climbed down into the window well to try to motivate Gandalf to fly out of the well to no avail. He wouldn't budge. I started to sweat, sick with worry. I grabbed a chair and sat by the well to try to sweet talk him out of his predicament. It wasn't working.
All day long, I watched him from my basement with periodic visits up to the well outside to try to coax him out. I didn't want him to die. I stepped back down into the well to bring him a bowl of water and bread crumbs. He didn't drink or eat. I desperately watched him in growing despair as I felt helpless in his rescue. Then, out of nowhere, as my last shred of sanity seemed to be on the verge of disappearing, a young robin swooped down into the well with a worm in his mouth, sat next to Gandalf, and fed him. I couldn't believe it. It was one of the most beautiful moments I had ever witnessed. The young robin swooped down 3 more times to feed Gandalf his hard-earned worms from his young mouth. It seemed incredulous that this happened not only one time, but four. I couldn't believe the care and compassion the young robin had for his much older counterpart. I knew animals had feelings, but I had no idea a creature so small could have such capacity for the emotional depth he displayed through his compassion and generosity.
Eventually, my fiance came home, got down into the window well and easily saved Gandalf by getting him to jump into a box. (Why couldn't I have thought of that?) Gandalf was free at last after a day full of fretting and worry, but also a day full of learning and beauty. I will never forget that day, and I will never forget the love and selflessness the young robin showed his elder.
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Image: Canadiannaturephotographer.com, Google Images