i spent the last afternoon of the year in central park with my father and my youngest sister. the polar vortex had yet to drape itself across the city, but the creeping post-solstice cold dragged its nails up my back anyway. we spoke of endings and beginnings, of professional decisions and unprofessional joys; i would publish in 2014, i said, because i figured it was what i was supposed to say, and publishing is such a fine thing.
my thoughts are all of beasts, is the problem. i began the new year on fire to volunteer at the bronx zoo; in collecting photos for ye olde birthday cakes for animals project i've tumbled through umpteen images of animal enrichment, and i thought i'd be just the gal to make ungulate-shaped piñatas for tigers. predictably enough, the zoo is less interested in enthusiastic amateur papier-mâché artists than it is in potential docents, and i was at a dead end until erin told me about her work with wild animals on long island. a group in the city needed help as well, she said. i could train to be a wildlife rehabilitator, maybe.
wildlife, internets! not mewling kittens begging to be smuggled into my apartment, but a fierce little robin that screeches like a boar, somersaulting red bats, and pigeons, dozens of pigeons in a tiny underground treatment space nursing bite wounds and necrotic toes and frost-abraded wings until CAGE REST is scratched from their charts and they can whirl back into the air. each sunday i spend with them erodes some of the staggering powerlessness i felt when i tried to make myself useful at animal control two years ago; they're happiest when you let them go. i think 2014 is their year.