This evening I walked with the youngest over to the Duck Pond. I needed to run a bit and so did she. It is finally a decent temperature outside to be able to do that. All of the geese and ducks were camped out on the west side of the pond, which made it quite easy for her to chase them. Most of the geese were asleep and she decided she needed to go wake them up. I got her to run on the "mountain" a bit and tried to run a bit as she chased the birds. I realized in the middle of all this that she was starting to have that look--the "I really wish there was a bathroom here" look. So we trudged over to the cattail side of the pond to look for a good peeing spot. It's a little more complicated with a girl, but our hiking pee stops earlier in the month helped me learn how to help her. I was looking around for a stick when suddenly I realized something seemed to be climbing on my back. At first I thought maybe it was an overhanging branch. But it kept moving. I not so calmly asked Grace what was on my back when it hopped off. It was a bird. This was very weird and freaky. Birds don't do that. I looked around to see if we were bothering it or something like a nesting area, but couldn't see anything. It kept hopping on me and pecking around our shoes. It looked fairly young. We walked over to another area. It followed us. By this point I saw a whole bunch of logs from a dead tree and decided those would be perfect for Grace. And they were away from this weird bird. We walked the 50 yds or so and as I found her perfect toilet log, I discovered that the bird had found us again. Got to distract the bird so the bird would not distract Grace. Lovely. After Grace finished, we walked to the bridge. We are looking over the edge for turtles, and that bird perches on my back again. Some other people come across the bridge and distract the bird long enough that Grace and I can go over the duck camping area and find some leftover bread, hoping that this is what this poor bird needs. Well, I know it is not really what it needs, but I did not want to dig for worms or hunt bugs. I have to do that enough at home, and besides, if that bird isn't (or can't) find those things, I don't think my chances were that great either. When we made it back, we discovered the bird was now named Cocoa Puffs, and that it liked crunched up croutons. It did not follow us home.

It was one of those events that makes me just shake my head and wonder, what was that all about? I don't believe in coincidences, but really it was just weird. Maybe it didn't like that we were carrying around a goose feather. Maybe this new t-shirt I'm wearing smelled. Or maybe God told it to go bother me cause I would find it some food. I do recognize that I made a very quick shift from fear and freaking out about this bird perched on my back to concern for its health and well-being. I don't know that I make that leap as quickly with humans, even with the kids that I work for, some of whom also tend to be a bit "weird" to get the attention they need. I am so thankful for the blessings of this week, of new mentors to work with these students at our school. And this blessing of this weird bird, to make me slow down, pay a bit closer attention to it, and show it some kindness.