Blue-jays, Dinosaurs, and Dandelions

For as long as I can remember I have always had a fascination for wildlife. At age 4, I knew every species of dinosaur. My favorite bird was a blue-jay. My favorite bird was the blue-jay because blue was my favorite color and and jays had a point on top of their head that looked like a horn that a dinosaurs would have. By age 7, I knew every breed of dog. It's just something that I am gifted at. 

I can remember about 40 years ago my mother and I were walking to the laundry mat in our small town of Danbury, Ct. Everything I encountered was fascinating. Our walk was like an excursion. I found a gigantic dandelion that was taller than me. "WOW! Can I keep it mommy?" I asked. "Of course," she replied, encouraging my inquisitive personality. "Is this milk on the stem?" No, that's nectar that bees use to make honey," she explained. "Bee's make honey?!? Then I like bees," I say with the innocence only a four year old could possess.

"Look Michael, those two blue-jays are fighting!" I could not believe my eyes. These two blue-jays swooped, dove and pecked until one of them lay dead. I had never seen anything like it before, as I watched with both fear and amazement. A wino picked the dead bird up with his hand, looked at my mother and I and said, "He's dead alright." 

I had all kinds of questions for my mother at the laundry mat and on our way back home until I realized that my giant dandelion was gone. Did I leave it somewhere or did one of those bad kids outside steal it? My mother told me that that means I am not ready for a pet yet.

Michael Rice is praying for early release from prison after receiving a mandatory sentence for drug distribution. He has a ten-year old son who means the world to him.