SOLC 2018–Day 21: Hope


March 2018 SOLC–Day 21
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Hope is the thing with feathers
∼Emily Dickinson

Outside the flash of a bullet of fur on a deadly trajectory caught my eye.

Oh, no!

I saw her land on four paws on the snowy bank beneath the feeders. My heart sank.

Did she get another bird?

I grabbed the door handle and raced outside.

“Juuuuniper,” I called.

She turned to look at me, and the two small bells at her neck jingled merrily. Two limp wings protruded from either side of her mouth. A fan of grey and white tail feathers covered her chin.

Oh, no! A little junco. 

She glanced at me, then turned to walk away, her prize firmly clenched in her jaws.

“Juney,” I called, coming up behind her. She slowed a bit. “Come here, Juney girl.”
Take it slowly. Don’t spook her.

The wings and tail were ominously still, no flutter of feathers, no evident struggle.

“Come here, sweet kitty.” I crooned, approaching her slowly. Slowly.

She stopped and looked back at me. “Good girl,” I said, coming nearer. I knelt and reached out, as if to pet her. She leaned toward me, anticipating an affectionate rub. Quickly but gently, I grasped either side of her head. Inserting my fingers in the corners of her mouth, I pushed. She wriggled to get away, lean muscle under silken fur, but I held on.

Will it work? Is it already too late?

“Come on, Juney. Open up,” I sing-songed.

I continued to apply steady pressure, and her mouth slowly began to open. A moment passed. I pushed a little more, and finally, her jaw dropped open.

In a whirling flash, with a scatter of feathers, the junco soared into the afternoon sky. It flew toward the barn, wheeled around the corner and disappeared from sight. A miracle of flight and feathers.

My heart rebounded.

28 thoughts on “SOLC 2018–Day 21: Hope

  1. margaretsmn says:

    You are a hero! One morning my cat had a baby squirrel. I was not able to rescue it. I mourned that little helpless thing. My husband said, “Circle of life.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Oh, poor squirrel. I’ve witnessed way too many small critter deaths at the hands/paws of my cats. I think I may need to take down the feeders, but that breaks my heart just a little.


  2. Cathy M says:

    That was a better ending than I anticipated. The combination of dialogue and narrative helped weave the tale perfectly. Your Juniper is quite a little rascal. Today you can count that as a win.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. rosecappelli says:

    Such anticipation! Glad it had a happy ending for the junco.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. cindaroo42 says:

    Oh my gosh that is incredible! You created so much suspense as you told this bit by bit. By including your inner thoughts, I was able to empathize and maintain hope that the bird was ok. Unbelievable! Definitely share this with your students!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I had no idea you could get a cat to drop its prey. Well done, Molly. The final verb captures your joy beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. dianeandlynne says:

    The dialogue and the tension in this post really captured me. I’m so glad it had a happy ending for the junco!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. paulabourque says:

    OH thank goodness-you are a hero. Too often this is not the happy ending. Loved the way you exploded this moment!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beth says:

    You are my hero!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Molly,

    Am I the only one who is happy for the junco yet thinking that will Junie trust you to come to you next time she has a little something in her mouth or will she remember “the betrayal” and polish off her meal before listening to your call?

    Thanks for saving Junco, a life saved is a life saved. ya?



    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alice Nine says:

    I’m so impressed… with the rescue and with the telling of the rescue. Your story is superbly crafted. Spectacular description: “In a whirling flash, with a scatter of feathers, the junco soared into the afternoon sky. It flew toward the barn, wheeled around the corner and disappeared from sight. A miracle of flight and feathers.” And I love the profound simplicity of your final sentence.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ureadiread says:

    I was hanging on your words to hear if the Junko was playing dead and could be rescued. Phew!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. dmsherriff says:

    This slice of a moment in time is priceless. As others have said, your conversation and description are beautifully balanced. I was holding my breath with each line. I knew you were pulling for the bird the whole time. The ending was what I was hoping for – your title is perfect! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. terierrol says:

    So happy that bird survived, but I know cats and they love to hunt. My cat too old and tired to hunt in the winter, but come better weather- watch out!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. What tension, what a wonderful ending. Bravo.


  15. Hooray for you, Molly! My heart was in my throat as I read your well-crafted slice. So relieved you rescued the little junco!


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