You try to steel yourself. You try to temper your hope. You say things like “well at least it has a better chance at surviving than it did.” But as you take action to ensure and continue such a tiny life — such a precious thing —  you can’t keep yourself from considering the positive outcome. From wanting it. Hard.

Then the reality comes when you check this morning while holding your breath that all is OK with the chick that at dusk yesterday had been comfortable in its makeshift nest. The chick that graduated to perching and preening and working its wings trying to build up strength and lift so that it could fly away and begin its life… instead at dawn today is just gone.

And all that’s left is the empty fruit picker dangling from the tree.

And all that’s left to do is a fruitless search of the ivy bed and the ground and the nearby tree branches — being careful wherever you step. Your ears strain for the slightest peep through the invading sounds of the neighborhood. Nothing.

Then the momma bird comes and you watch as she frantically flits around where her baby had been. She lights on branches for moments before taking flight again, calling. Landing. Flying. Calling. Calling. I pray she can zero in on her baby. But she can’t. No answer comes.

You wonder. Did it lose its balance and fall while sleeping? Did its patience finally fail for it to dare its inaugural flight out into the dangerous dark. Was it ambushed? Did it suffer? Is it suffering now?

I am.

I sob to Susan that no good comes from trying. But I correct myself quickly. I will always try. I can’t not try.  Even when my efforts fail.