Caring For a Fallen Bird

About 12 years ago, a baby bird fell out of one of the palm trees here at Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institute. The little bird was a Black Crown Night Heron, and was in desperate need of help, or it wouldn’t survive. It had a broken leg and as sometimes will happen; its brothers would swoop down and beat him up. It fell into a place full of criminals yes, but also a place full of people who knew what it was like to suffer, who therefore showed compassion.

These convicted felons began to care for “Shorty” and nursed him back to health. He now lives here with all of us as one of us. He even takes pictures with us. He stands by his bowl twice a day after swooping down from the sky in hopes of being fed. Somehow he had never missed a meal. He also now has a son by the name of “Junior.”  He also comes by daily. They often come right up to the door awaiting the men to be released. We think Shorty is here for flying without an FAA license.

As a pastor of 35 years, I am trained to see the best in people, so I can try to help them with their troubles. I marvel at inmates that have cared for Shorty for 12 years and Junior and numerous stray cats. There must be something good in them somewhere.

The rule here is to not feed the animals. Are there any animal rights people out there? Throw us a bone by visiting and donate some money to help me and others

When I was meditating today, I was thinking about when I came to prison, and they had to give my dog away. How he must have wondered what became of his buddy? His Daddy. If he’d be treated well? I was also thinking what it might be like to once again, see colorful things in the free world. Not just khaki and grays.

As I write for, I ask your patience with me. It is different for inmates who only have been down for a few years with a few to go. Once I passed year 10, I had already read over 1100 books. I watched so much TV that I could tell when the news outlets change even the slightest graphic. And it would bother me because, inmates normally hate change.

Now that I am past 20 years, [and have 15 to go] and have missed the growing up of my daughters. When before I was so attentive to all their events, was their pastor, teacher, and ran their school. I don’t think I can just write about the day to day activities of prison. It seems I can’t muster the patience.  But, I can write about some deep things if you’re interested?

Want to know what my deepest fear is if I ever go home? Driving. I think I have lost the ability to drive and the capacity to even pass the California’s Driver’s Test. Can you believe it? I did professional stunt work, and even was proficient in defensive driving techniques like, bootleggers, J-turns and roadblock avoidance.  Now I’m scared I can’t even pass the driver’s test.

This is what prison does to the mind. And the heart. No wonder Moses came out of 40 years in the wilderness a stutter.