Sunday, June 20, 2010


I loaded up the car mid-afternoon on Saturday to head north to Maine for a quick weekend visit in order to attend the wedding of an old family friend. Usually I put Haricot, my pet lovebird, in the passenger seat next to me, but I decided on the off chance I had an accident he'd be safer in the back, so I buckled his cage in behind me. That meant that I couldn't pet him and interact with him the way I normally do when I drive, but if he stood in the right spot in his cage and I craned my neck just a bit, I could see him in the rearview mirror. Every few minutes I'd glance back and say, "Haricot, you okay back there?" and he'd hop to that corner and chirp at me.

I plugged my ipod in and listened to a few podcasts as I drove, sweating in the early summer heat. One was of Irene Pepperberg, a scientist who does research with parrots, most famously an African gray named Alex. I listened to her description of how Alex helped her through her divorce, and then her devastation when Alex died, and I teared up a bit. "Are you enjoying this, too?" I asked Haricot, and he chirped, cheerful as always, but I wished there were some parrot noises in the broadcast so he would know it was a story about parrots.

After we arrived, I opened his cage and we napped in the living room -- or rather, I napped and Haricot hopped energetically around me. A few goldfinches flew by outside, and I wondered if Haricot would like to spend time with them if he could; probably, I thought. He's very social, and while I've never had the chance to see him with other birds, I bet he'd love them.

My mom and I decided eventually to go for a walk, and I left Haricot with my dad, who happily told me he'd love to spend some time with his grandbird. But when we got back Dad was waiting outside for us with a worried look on his face: "I think Haricot got out. The door blew open, and I can't find him," he reported.

For about ten minutes, I was certain he'd turn up quickly. I thought he was probably somewhere in the house, sitting quietly, waiting for me to come home. When I didn't find him, my state of mind reversed completely, and I became convinced that he was gone forever. I didn't want to keep looking, I just wanted to curl up in a ball. We kept looking anyway, all three of us, but not constantly; it felt so pointless, with the thousands of trees he could be in, and the many areas that are impenetrable by foot.

I imagine that Haricot is probably scared by himself in the forest, or wherever he is. He is probably hungry and thirsty. Still, I hope that he is enjoying himself, at least a little bit. I hope that he is making friends with the goldfinches and other birds, having conversations with them as he occasionally did from the safety of our apartment. I hope that he is finding lots of interesting leaves to chew on, and perches that are higher than anything he's ever imagined.

Last kiss...

1 comment:

  1. Oh no, Heathen. I am very sad about this, and I know you are, too.