I have a gift. I don’t know who or what gave it to me, but sometimes I use it to help myself or help others.

I have an acquaintance in my speech club, a wonderfully adorable man named Robbie. The other day Robbie gave me a present from his hometown of Montego Bay, Jamaica. He gave me a wooden statue of some birds. I don’t know what kind of birds they were. The “leg” on each bird was a single peg, and each leg fit into a hole in a little tree. I liked this gift very much.

Now, you see, I asked Robbie to bring me back a bird-like something from Jamaica when he went. I even offered to pay him, but he refused, which I thought was really sweet. In any case, it got me to thinking about gifts.

One of the saddest things I remembered about volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue is that I was often reminded that humans used to take gifts from animals that weren’t offered. Still do. In short, even though we can doesn’t mean we should.

For example, late in the 19th century the plumes of Snowy Egrets were used to adorn ladies hats. As a result, the birds were hunted until they were nearly extinct.

Anyway, I started thinking about the gifts that animals – human, avian, mammal, and so on – give without inflicting harm on another living being.
Just today, a friend of mine came by. We chatted for an hour, had a little tea, and then she left. It was lovely. I don’t get enough of that in my life, and I can’t tell you how beautiful that short visit was. This friend is so kind, so sweet, and I felt incredibly grateful that she took time out of her day to spend some time with me.

Other human gifts include, but are not limited to:

– strong, sincere hugs, noses touching and an intentional, sweet, glittering gaze

– sincere praise, even when one is too tired to muster a sound

– giggle, snort, need I say more

– making music, making love

Gifts from animals that are offered:

– a sweet song in the morning

– a sideways, inquisitive, meaningful gaze

– a sincere desire to live life on their own terms

– truly untold beauty, as in the delicate white feathers of a snowy egret

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