It started out as a beautiful day full of raindrop scented air and warm breezes floating in and out of my messy curly hair making it tickle my exposed shoulders. That is just how the story began of meeting my tiny little friend.
I was assisting on a fabulos photoshoot, where my best friend was modeling for another photographer that I have admired for quite some time, who had recently become my friend. We headed to the beautiful Piedmont Park, where I had only lightly explored one other time for prom pictures when I was just starting out in photography. I was very excited to get back to this famous park and look around for some cool new spots to take pictures and explore.
As we walked through the grass sprinkled with dew and dodging the pools of water puddled on the damp, muddy earth; Brian (the main photographer) was giving us a little history of the park along with exciting stories of his adventures there. Apparently Piedmont Park has been around since 1895 and was designed by the same man who constructed Central Park in New York in 1857. It was interesting to picture all of the horses that use to roam the gravel trails back over a hundred years ago, in place of the children running and playing in the green grass in modern times.
We made our way deep into the park, having wonderful conversations as well as posing Brooks, our lovely model, in many creative ways. While wrapping up the shoot with one last shot on a grassy hill in the bright sunshine, I hear Brooks yell to watch where I step. I peer down at my feet and my heart sinks to the pit of my stomach.
Laying in the bed of untamed grass, was a little soul that had fallen from the birch tree above. I crouched down to the petite bird and saw that he was crawling in the greenery, confused as to where he was. I scooped up the small feathered creature, with a large leaf that I had found on the ground nearby, and held him softly in my hands to keep his heart warm. He moved his fuzzy head up and looked at me with tired eyes that attached his soul to mine forever.
I decided then and there that I must take him home with me and do everything in my power to help him.
The car ride home was one for the books. You have not lived until you attempt to drive while holding a baby bird in one hand and trying to drive through the city without getting in an accident. During our time in famous Atlanta traffic, Brooks and I had decided to name him Noodle, random, I know, but it fit his cute personality perfectly!
I brought Noodle home and immediately made a soft warm bed for him. I took a brown woven basket and filled it with a fluffy floral blanket and a heating pad to keep my little birdie warm. I wrapped him up and tucked him in so he could sleep while I started my search for help on the internet. My mother contacted people that would come and retrieve him in the morning (if he made it through the night) and help, and I looked up things to feed him. I made a concoction of warmed up milk and bread and attempted to feed him although he rejected it and chose to nibble on my finger instead.
I decided all I could really do was wait with him before someone came for him. I held the basket in my lap as I rocked back and forth singing sweet songs to him. Noodle was an excellent listener, he would nod his young little head as if he knew exactly what you were saying in-between little birdie yawns.
The rain started to come down hard on my roof as night started setting in. Sunset storms are always the most beautiful in my humble opinion. I lit some candles and turned on the soft twinkle lights that hung over my room. It was so peaceful and quiet. I crawled into my own cozy bed and set Noodle's basket up beside me. I started to sing one last song to him, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, my personal favorite, as I saw his breath starting to slow down and become deeper and deeper.
Noodle had managed to slip from our world and into the afterlife while I sang to him. The tears began to uncontrollably run down my cheeks as I noticed his departure. I already missed him so much. But strangely enough, I wasn't sad for him. He was no longer lost and in pain. He was safe and in someplace better.
I crept down the cold staircase of my home and out into the chilled rain that was poring down. I had taken Noodle from his warm basket and on to the same leaf that was his blanket at the park. I walked to an area of my yard that was soil rich and dug a little spot for him. After covering his body in rose petals I had plucked from a nearby bush, I said my goodbyes.
Although I had missed him and wished he could stay with me, I realized that I had witnesses one of the most beautiful things in the world. The transition from life to death. Ever since I was young I found great beauty in things that others found sad. Yes, death is very very somber and sometimes I wish that it wasn't something that inevitably had to happen, but it should be celebrated because before that death, was a beautiful beautiful life. To me death is not a permanent thing and it is not final, it is just the next step in our journey.