Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homage to the 'Birdman'

“If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.”

As the change of seasons continues to take shape in our area (we've already had our first human-caused wildland fire of the year), sometimes it's good to take a look around and get a closer look at those things that take a piece of our field of vision, but that we take for granted or just don't really notice.

Thanks to reporter Troy Sides of the Mesa State Criterion, we now know a little bit more about one of Grand Junction's most enigmatic personalities.

In a recent story and associated audio slideshow, Mr. Sides introduces us to the 'Birdman', AKA one Edward Gillman. A widowed California transplant with two grown daughters, Mr. Gillman stated he's been walking the same regular route between the college area and Downtown for the last 27 years, feeding the birds along his way.

Mr. Gillman said that he got his start when he took an injured sparrow home and it got better. Like with the famed Robert Stroud, an avian avocation was begun.

I see the Birdman at the Downtown Post Office in the late afternoons, before he walks east on White Avenue, flocks of pigeons and starlings following him. He lives in an apartment in town.

Seeing someone who is content with spending his days in this manner runs counter to the pulse of our society and culture, but I can sense that the Birdman has a good idea of what he wants to do, and is at peace with himself and his life.
He enjoys a freedom that few of us can comprehend.

Pax et Bonum.

Photo Credit: Troy Sides, Mesa State Criterion

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