Friday, November 25, 2005

The Bird

I normally don’t send more than one post per day, but I witnessed something right after I sent my last one that warranted two.

Something I always thought strange here was the lack of life. Vegetation, trees, animals, anything besides the little lizards and occasional rat or mouse (incidentally, the rats are roughly the size of squirrels). I first really noticed this when it occurred to me that there weren’t any birds around. Every once in a while I see one, but not that often.

As I was making my hourly hike to the bathroom this morning a group of officers were standing in a circle around something in the rocks and sand outside the CAOC. Above me on the roof were more birds (like maybe 4) than I had seen so far. When I went up to them there was a little baby bird, too small to fly, scared to death standing in the middle of them. He was the same color as the sand and had they not been there I doubt I would have even seen him. As I watched these four grown men were trying helplessly to coax this tiny bird out of the path and into the shade where he would be safer—the whole while the bird’s family screaming at the top of the roof. Eventually I think they got him to safety.

One thing that’s different for me here is a sense of purpose. I know the job I have at home is important (working strategy issues for South America) but it doesn’t really inspire meaning very much. I get the feeling from everyone here that there is an overwhelming sense of purpose, a feeling of doing something noble and right, and getting the job done. No one likes being here—but no one complains because they know that what we are doing here is vitally important to the rest of the world. As such everyone here has a giving mindset—that they are here to protect those that cannot protect themselves, whether they are American or Iraqi.

Or even a baby bird that can’t fly.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, and it speaks to the heart of most soldiers......they're good and decent.

    Fighting, warfare, can be very gruesome, horrible, and shocking; and it can even seer a conscience, but most know why they are fighting and are still decent enough human beings to take the time to care for even a small bird as you say.