The next month, I took Apollo on a run at the National Mall. Apollo took flight as he often does, but this time, he went higher and further than ever before. Oh my goodness, I conveyed an expression of blunder. I had gotten so careless that I had forgotten to trim his wings, and suddenly high above the Mulberry trees along the scenic mall, Apollo found freedom.
I looked everywhere for Apollo, even bringing along his cage, his Bonka Bird toy, rattling in the wind. I scattered sunflower seeds and peanuts everywhere and had to fight off the squirrels who had a field day. Sadly, he was nowhere to be found. Like a menacing tween, he had skipped school, and he was not yet ready to return to his distressed patriarch. The massive magnolias along the miles-long cinder path served as an ideal refuge for him, while the Capitol dome and the Washington Monument obelisk served as landmarks.
“Apollo, please come home to Papa!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. As sunset beckoned, I came to the sad conclusion that my wails were been drowned by the hustle and bustle of young people and tourists mingling on the grassy fields.
Soon the sun was shadowed by the majestic, iron dome of the Capitol, and I would return the next day to make my unwavering attempt. At daybreak, when the sun’s rays bathed the Lincoln Memorial in golden sunlight, I was roving up and down the grassy turf searching for my wanderlust feathered friend. I played a scratchy recording of his chirping. It sounded promising, but after a while, the raspy screams only commingled with the purrs from the cormorants and the buzz from the sparrows. GW University just so happened to be hosting its commencement ceremony at noon, so soon there would be several hundred black caps and gowns and excited families scurrying all along the mall.
Since I couldn’t physically search, I would leverage social media. My Facebook posting gained some traction and I started to get excited when Zach Peirce mentioned that one of the graduating students saw Apollo hanging out on top of a standing fan, just screaming away. So she called the Washington Humane Society who readily captured him.
I immediately called them and was overjoyed when they informed me that my poor Apollo was in safekeeping.
Apollo was home now, and he would join me on more runs and escapades throughout D.C. But this time, I would ensure his flight feathers were properly trimmed and his favorite Bonga Bird toy within arm’s reach.