Bam! The sound was so loud I jumped. I knew from previous similar sounds that once again one of the birds that visited our bird feeder had accidently hit a window. But this time it sounded extra loud, compelling me to get up from my desk chair, where I’d been working on my computer, to see if there was an injured bird on the ground in front of the window.
I found no bird lying on the ground, but as I was looking around, some movement off to the side of the yard and just beyond our slatted fence, caught my eye. I looked more closely in that direction and saw a hawk on top of another bird, which was struggling to escape from the hawk’s talons.
Instantly I ran out of the house, down the stairs and around the house to where the hawk and the other bird were fighting. As I got closer to them, the hawk noticed me and looked up at me, stopping his attack on the bird lying beneath him, captured in his talons. The distraction I created was enough to allow the bird to free itself and it quickly flew off. It was one of the mourning doves that frequent our bird feeder. The hawk sat there for a few moments, seemingly stunned at this turn of events, and then flew off in a different direction than that of the dove.
Believing as I do that often animals come to us bearing messages of importance, I mused for a while on the message for me of this quick but potent event.
The hawk and the dove. Obviously this was about predator and prey, abuser and victim. And the importance of the one who intervenes. Had I not heard the loud bang against the window, had I not paid attention to my inner nudge to check it out, had I not noticed the hawk fighting with its still-alive prey, the dove would have been little more than a meal for the larger bird.
This, I realized, is a timely metaphor that relates directly to all of us and to the state of our world today. There are those in our world, animal as well as human, who are easy prey for those who live off the weaknesses of others. There are times when they need the assistance of those who are stronger than they are in order to assist them, save them, from the harms that predators and abusers would perpetrate upon them.
I am reminded of a similar incident, this time involving humans. At the time of the incident, D, a dear friend of mine had just broken up with an abusive man. She, another friend, A, and I had gone out to dinner. Afterward I drove D to her home where we were going to have an after dinner drink and chat. D and A got out of my truck first, and as I came around the truck toward her house, both of them began screaming. A was standing next to my truck, but D was being dragged along the walkway around her house by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Without thinking, I ran toward my friend as she was being dragged and pulled, yelling at the ex to let go of her. Evidently my demeanor was quite frightful because he let go of her, ran to his car, and quickly drove off.
My intervention saved her, the prey/victim, from probable physical injury from the predator/abuser, her ex-boyfriend, and most certainly from emotional injury. Being kidnapped, and she certainly was being kidnapped, is a terrifying experience.
Like the hawk and the dove, my intervention saved an innocent victim from suffering great pain and possibly death.
But this message is not just about me being a hero. It’s a message about intervention, about stepping up and saving those who are unable to save themselves from predators and abusers. And it was given to me to share because it’s meant for everyone.
The time is now for all of us collectively – and individually – to step up and intervene whenever harm is being done to another by an abuser or predator.
There are many ways you can help those who are being abused and preyed upon. Opportunities present themselves to you every day and in many ways. All you have to do is be open to noticing them. Here’s a few samples:
• Speak up when you see abuse occurring.
• Sign petitions – online and in person – to stop some of the various abuses that are currently being perpetrated to people, animals, and the planet.
• Learn how to strengthen your personal boundaries and share this knowledge with others.
• Adopt a pet from a rescue shelter rather than buying one.
• Support the agencies and groups that exist to help those being abused, such as battered women’s clinics, the ACLU, NRDC.
My friend became motivated to learn from the local women’s clinic and self-help books about abusive men, how to spot them and avoid relationships with them. In turn, she has helped women that she’s known who were in abusive relationships.
Interestingly, I have not seen any mourning doves by our bird feeder since this incident. It makes me wonder if perhaps this particular dove was saved in order to warn the others in its flock about the potential danger of feeding at the bird feeder. I would hope that they would learn from the crows and keep one of their kind up in the trees to act as a lookout for any potential dangers.
I would hope, too, that the effort these animal messengers shared is not wasted, and that it serves to move everyone who reads this into action whenever a wrong or harm being done to another is seen.