Plans. We make them. We have lists, calendars, agendas, schedules. Plans.

And for me, Sunday was chalk full of them. After coffee and CBS Sunday Morning where I get my dose of tears and inspiration from at least one story, I had a shower and my list. Pick up paper towels so I can clean the house. Pick up dry cleaning. Look for an earring that matches the one that Hannah lost. Cat food, new toothbrushes, laundry, put piles of clean clothes away, write column that I have now promised myself I would do every week again,  finish watching season 3 of Goliath because it’s so frigging good even though it gives me restless dreams.

That was my plan. And then… I saw this bird.

Outside my garage, clearly injured, leaning it’s head against the garage door that I had automatically clicked to open before I realized the bird needed it to rest against. The door opened and the bird, unable to fly, but desperately trying to, scrambled under my car.

Okay. Okay. You know those moments. You stand there a minute, processing, deciding the next move because none of this was on the schedule.

Injured bird. Got it.

I’ll grab some gloves, put it in the grass and continue on with my day.

But when I picked it up, it’s one eye badly injured, it looked at me with it’s other eye and that was that. We literally stared at each other. Clearly none of this was in his plan either.

The animal-lover-once-dreamed-of-being-a-veterinarian-and-still-sometimes-does child in me was screwed.

I needed to help this bird. While I held it, gave it water, and sang to it (yes, I do that. I sing to snails, for fuckssake), my daughter found the number of the nearest place that cares for injured wildlife.

26 miles away. In Los Angeles freeway terms we’re talking a good two days.

I wrapped the bird, who I was now in love with, in a towel, placed him in the cat carrier (ironic) and put him in the car.

Off we went. I turned on the Frank Sinatra Sirius channel softly, and talked to my new friend the entire time.

You’re okay…  It’s okay, birdieWe’re almost thereWhen I was Seventeen it was a very good year…

When I arrived at the Wildlife Center the nurse whisked the cat carrier from me and ushered me off to a different room to fill out papers. When she returned she said, Wow, a flicker.  

A what?

Flicker bird. That’s the breed. Looks like he was hit by a car.

I wanted to cry. Poor little guy. My poor little Flicker.

She explained that they keep the bird, nurse him through his rehabilitation until they know for certain he can fly and eat and protect himself. Then, once safe, they release him back to where he was found.

Outside my garage?

Yep. He’ll be with us for at least a month. When he’s ready to be released we do it ourselves or give you the option to do it if you want to come get him.

Oh, hell yes, I want to come get him! I miss him already!

I would love to do it. Thank you.

She handed me my cat carrier, a flyer and sent me on my way. I wasn’t allowed to see him again. I didn’t get any proper goodbye. They say it’s forbidden to visit because human contact can affect wildlife and their rehabilitation and release experience. All I had was a reference number for Flicker (yes, that’s his name now) so I can call and get updates on how he’s doing.

I drove away listening to Frank Sinatra and eyeing the now empty cat carrier in the rear view mirror.  When I got home I looked at the flyer she gave me. The first sentence reads, Thank you for your care and compassion.

Funny, I felt like Flicker is the one who showed me the care and compassion… by choosing me to help him.

My day was planned out to be one of checking off a list.  Instead I got an opportunity to feel connected to a life. Wildlife… it certainly is.