Sunday, August 19, 2012

How to Heal a Broken Wing, by Bob Graham (with Spoilers)

Several months ago I had an embarrassing thing happen.  My favorite librarian became convinced I was pregnant again.  It is no secret to our friends and family that another child is not in the cards for us, so this
was more than just a workout wake-up call, it was a peculiar, private insult to me.  Of course, the librarian was always very upbeat about the whole thing, but I never found a way to tell her without major embarrassment that she was wrong, that she had me confused with someone else, that there was no way, no how.  So instead, I just disappeared.  For months.

This week we went back.  She was chipper as usual, but asked no questions, made no mention of anything, but instead went marching right on with what we love about her, she told us of lovely books.

Her suggestion this week was to read the books of Bob Graham.  She picked How to Heal a Broken Wing off the shelf and hesitated.  "This might be too sad, too emotional for your girl" she said.  I know my girl, and I perked up, "She loves sad!"  The librarian smiled, "Yes, she does have an empathetic vein to her, doesn't she?"

And off we marched with this book.  Simple in words, but complex of emotions, a boy finds a wounded bird and wants to help.  There is something so evocative to me about this book.  The entire wounding goes completely unnoticed by the teeming masses of adults, until our compassionate little protagonist enters.  Will.  The definition of his very name holding the intent for something wonderful to happen.  Miraculously, his parents are equally concerned and they nurse the bird back.

Normally, I don't like to give away the whole plot, the punchlines, and thus the magic of the books I review here, but this one is so sweet, I must quote it.  Over many pages of beautiful illustrations, the following lines unfold: " A loose feather can't be put back, but a broken wing can sometimes heal.  With rest, and time, and a little hope... a bird may fly again."

And so it is with life.  We are wounded by it.  We watch people struggle.  Sometimes we help and sometimes we do not.  But if we are lucky, someone comes along at the right time and nurses us back without even a mention of repayment or even acknowledgement.

And yet after all that watching and worrying - if our intent has been in the right place all along - only the feeling of finally watching that bird fly again gives our own spirit that enviable sense of soaring.