Boundaries. Walls. Whatever you wish to call them, we all build them. High and strong. seemingly impenetrable. We all do this. Every once in a while we let them go. For whatever reason, we let go and love. Completely. We allow our heart to fill with joy at the sight, sounds and smells. We feel the warmth of that love and the resounding goodness it fills us with. Over the past 6 days my partner and I did this. A tiny premature starling came into our lives. Just a bird- most will scoff and laugh. Yep, just a bird. A small seemingly unimportant life in the grand scheme of things. I often say those very words. Just a bird. I build a wall. I create a boundary line in the sands of emotional thought. Initially I did, just as I always do. I found my usual distance. As the first 24 hours passed and my partner had yet to sleep I realized this little one was different. I watched her pour her heart into it in a way I had not seen from her. I got pulled in. I took turns with feeding duty. I allowed her to rest, though often we both sat with this little newborn and marveled at the translucent body and the little pulse as it shivered along his neck. It had been a long time since we were both completely captured by anything. Wrung out and burnt out, we had stopped allowing ourselves to be captivated. We erected walls and found safety in the dull monotony of keeping distance. More so myself than my partner, yet we both did it. As 48 hours passed we inched a little closure to complete rapture. Yeah, I know. Just a bird. It isn’t Jesus for fucks sake. But something was different. Each feeding, every 20 minutes pulled us closer together and to this little life. I knew, in that moment, what it was like to sit in awe of a new life. To feel so bonded and connected you could barely contain your heart in your chest. The moment when exhaustion and anger and frustration melt in the face of something so wonderful. I couldn’t help it. I was captured. I could no longer build a wall even if I had wanted to. Was it that little bird? Was it watching my partner give herself completely? was it the moment we shared watching this exquisitely awkward new life as it unfurled before us? The weak little bird grew stronger and we each started to think about the future. I promised her an aviary, still guilty over making her let the last bird go. We named him. We called him Noodle. We loved him. Not an awww, kind cute hallmark sort of way. No this was a complete unadulterated, unfiltered and unbound kind of way. Noodle was ours. Together we fed him and held him. She kissed him on top of his knobby little head. Today his eyes would have opened. He would have seen us for the first time. He never got to see us. He did not make it. What has been left in his wake is utter wreckage. heart torn out of the chest sort of wreckage. I can’t help her. I wish I could make it better somehow. There is nothing I can do but be here. I understand the pain. Is it this little bird? or is this just a culmination of loss, frustration and sorrow? Years of birds, horses, dogs and people lost too soon without enough warning. Is grief cumulative? Like sleep deprivation? I think it is. I think each time we pull ourselves together and go on with life we don’t allow ourselves that deep and complete desolation. We cannot sit long in that wreckage because to do so would be to accept that painful state. We are conditioned to survive and to run from pain like that. Nobody wants to experience it let alone stay with it. I think that is where the error lies. As we run from one wounding to another that pain and sorrow only builds. It is buried but it is there. I do not think my partner and I are grieving for this little life alone. We are grieving for fathers, and our lost family members. They may well have four legs yet is doesn’t make it any less painful. We mourn each time we packed it up and stood as death came to them. Each and every time we functioned as professionals and not as individuals who;s hearts had just been broken again. This is what is crushing us today. Noodle came into our lives for a reason. This may well be it. He gave us the opportunity to love completely and grieve totally. There is no in between. The pain is all-encompassing and that is okay because so is love. It is in our minds, our hearts and in each cell within our being. It is limited only by the walls we erect. Why? Because of this very moment. This pain. We don’t want to be wounded. Nobody does. Distance and obstacles make this easier to take, or does it? Do we just complicate our lives needlessly in pursuit of a reality that doesn’t exist? We cannot not love and we can’t avoid pain. Why then can we not just open ourselves and love without conditions. It is a question I cannot answer.