Last week, Ariel Cordova-Rojas rescued a swan with lead poisoning. Visiting New York’s Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge for her 30th birthday, and previously trained with identifying and rescuing wildlife, she quickly realized the swan was in severe distress.
A young woman saw a sick swan. On her birthday. Going to connect with nature and its creatures. She didn’t hypothesize why it was sick; clearly the fowl was compromised. After several attempts to have the swan rescued by various agencies without success, she took action. Wrapping the swan in her coat, Cordova-Rojas took on the task to save the bird’s life. She didn’t stop to tweet. She didn’t make a proclamation or take a selfie and post it. She acted.
With the help of two groups of strangers, the New York subway system and a clear and conscientious heart, the woman transported the ill swan to the Wild Bird Fund’s clinic on the Upper West Side. The bird is now recovering and has bonded with another swan at the refuge.
Today, our country is like that sick swan. How or why we got sick can’t matter anymore. We have more than one reason for our compromised situation. At this point, that cannot our focus. What is important are three key factors that saved that other swan’s life; someone who put her needs aside for the good of another, two groups of strangers who didn’t worry about who voted for whom when they stepped up to help, and some subway riders who weren’t necessarily blasé, but accepting of all life forms and how they come together in this world.
We can be Cordova-Rojas. We can be like the strangers who helped arrange for transport to and from the subway for the rescuer and her bicycle. We can emulate the supporters of the end goal who didn’t ask questions or place blame. We can echo the actions of the subway riders who accepted the strange paths we all have to take sometimes.
That young woman has set the bar for being a citizen of the world. Let’s follow her lead. See a need. Make a decision to help, whatever piece of our sickness pulls at your heart. Contribute. Take action in every way possible to protect each and every being in our country. Bond with those who may look and behave differently than we might look or behave for a higher cause. Allow strangers to help others with no judgement. Put our biases and past behind. Be our best selves.
Save our beautiful swan.