This article appeared in the July 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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When hope has wings – and a beak, and is lost

Nacho Doce/Reuters/File
Cockatiels are for sale at a pet store in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

“‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers.”

That’s the title of one of Emily Dickinson’s most famous poems. It might also apply to Chi Chi, a pet cockatiel lost, and then found.

Bright yellow with peach cheeks and a mohawk of head feathers, Chi Chi looks like a banana. Her name is short for Chiquita.

Earlier this month she was riding on owner Alan Zimberg’s shoulder as he walked around his house in Potomac, Maryland. He forgot she was there and went outside. She flew away.

Mr. Zimberg and wife, Lisa Morton, were distraught, according to an account in The Washington Post. The next day, Ms. Morton went to an optometrist appointment at a nearby shopping center and talked all about it. Optometrist Andrew Plaxen did his best to comfort her.

You know what happens next. Later that day Mr. Plaxen walked out to the parking lot and saw two crows attacking a yellow bird. It plummeted to the ground. He ran over and reached out. Chi Chi got up and walked onto his arm.

What were the odds?

Found pet stories are always a balm for the soul. But in these troubled times the tale of Chi Chi might be that and a metaphor as well, a reminder of the persistence of light in the darkest days.

Which is maybe what Emily Dickinson was talking about:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all – 

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This article appeared in the July 17, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 07/17 edition
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