I write from a dry corner of the, at least today, very very rainy Kikaijima Island. I am very thankful for our house, which is dry and doesn't leak much. I try not to take such things for granted.
This week we released our pet bird, Midoriko. It was actually very sad for us b/c Midoriko, literally the majority of the time, sang either quietly or loudly. Many times, while we have been playing music on the stereo or on the guitar or listening to a sermon mp3 on the computer, Midoriko has apparently made it his goal to chirp louder than the noise we make. It's been very entertaining for us. We kept his cage reasonably clean, gave him a cage that was 3X bigger than anyone else's for a mejiro bird, gave him treats consisting of a half-tangerine regularly, and never tried to catch him by the hand. All that to say that we were very good hosts, but still - he's a wild bird.
So we knew that we should attempt to get a permit from the local gov't to keep him, so Aubrey went to see if that was possible. We found out on Thursday that it was not. Now, many people on Kikai apparently keep one or more of these birds as pets, but it's technically illegal. And everyone we asked said, "It's illegal but -shhhh- don't tell anyone." So I get it - it's one of those minor laws, beneath parking infractions in importance, that are almost never if not never enforced.
And yet just b/c nobody else keeps the law, that doesn't mean we shouldn't. So we thanked God for the gift of Midoriko's songs and the fun we had in watching and listening to him, opened the cage door, and waited until he flew into the tangerine tree right across from our patio. We were pretty sad and immediately missed his singing, but I'm sure a wild animal like him prefers to be in the wild.
It occurred to me while praying the morning before we let him go that releasing him would make us sad and that it would be hard, and then that avoiding 'sadness' and 'hardship' is not nearly the most important calling on our lives. So what does it matter if it would make us sad to do the right thing?
We have received an unexpected blessing since we let him go - we still hear his song, a lot more often than we thought. Of course, it's farther away but he (at least we think it is he) sticks around our area and sings from the trees. Whenever he does, we open the door and listen and smile. Dang, he's cute! I can't wait until spring advances a little farther, b/c apparently, when the tangerine trees start to put out lots of tangerines, the mejiros return from migration in force and there are tons of them around. Hopefully their songs will be able to drown out those dang cicadas!
1st pic - Kansha, our original bird, who escaped on 29 Dec. Next two pics are Midoriko, mere minutes before being released into the wild on 24 March.