29 Jan 08
I have hoped to find out all the details of Tinkerbell episode at BanTienYen and her return to
the Yu family on 16 Jan 08 before I write this. But it seemed that not all that I wish to know can be known. The last time I spoke to Mr Yu was on last Saturday 25 Jan. That was also the same day that I finally dismantled the final circle I woven around the bird dealers of Chiayi and two other adjacent cities.
I reached my shama friend on that day. I got only to his answering machine on other attempts. And I felt I must talk to him directly to let him know Tinkerbell was found and thank him for his efforts. Likewise, the fishing shop owner who knew Tinkerbell from the first time I decided on the Dyneema leash to the last time when he aided me was also told. They were all delighted with that news, and they know I will take Tinkerbell with me to thank them the next time I am in Chiayi city.
After Tinkerbell was returned, I spoke to Mr Yu several times. That was to find out all that I could find out. And as Tinkerbell was back, how to make sure the barn door will now be double locked. You all will agree that subject could not and would not be brought up if Tink was not back with him.
I do not expect what occured with me and Tink would ever occur with him. I loved the mountains and forests that Mr Yu had not shared. Although he lived in Chiayi all his life, he never even knew of the pavilion beyond Bantienyen until I brought him there. He would never have taken Tink to those kind of areas. He also never flown Tink (his normal recalls with Tink was about 3-4 meters, and rarely at that) the way I did.
I have warned people so many times about carabinering the leash to either belt or back pack. I felt that since the leash was attached to the rod/reel setup, that warning did not apply to me. I thought that weight was enough. But as described, on that morning of 26 Dec 07, Tink flew to me and lifted that entire 1 kg of rod/reel setup with her.
You have also seen that rod/reel setup was often used as a handy perch for her.
So while we were walking along, the rod/reel was carabinered to my belt. But when we reached a place to stop for a while, the rod/reel would be placed on table or bench as perch for Tinkerbell. Who showed on that fateful afternoon 26 Dec 07 that she could easily fly and pull that rod/reel to the ground at the very least. The rod/reel banging on the ground could caused the rubber band holding the reel to 'jump' the nail and released the reel to spin.
Much thicker and more rubber bands were added to hold that reel now from spinning free. The other lock that I used in the past to prevent the line from running loose from the reel even if the reel could spin was reintroduced.
In addition, a 2 kg bag of weights with a short Dyneema line tied to it will be looped around the reel itself to prevent the leash line from spilling out. I cannot trust just rubber band anymore. This will be done every time the rod/reel is unhooked from belt and used as perch for Tinkerbell.
While Tink did fly that short distance to me carrying that rod/reel assembly, I cannot imagine Tink at 430++ grams can carry that 3 kg of rod/reel & 2 kg bag. And with that 2k bag line double wound on the reel and clipped to itself, that will not release itself should the rod/reel be dragged and bounced on the floor unlike a simple rubber band. And yes, that bag line will also be double wrapped around the strap of the backpack as well.
And yes, Tinkerbell in her harness and line will be taken out by Yu and family in future.
Now we wind the clock back to the evening of 16 Jan 2008.
I cannot, now that Tink is back, recollect just how I felt before that time, the depth of despair and the awful loneliness and the gnawing pain that was in me before I knew Tinkerbell was back, the anguish that I thought I never can forget.
I assure all you folks that you do not wish ever to join the Overnighter's Club. The price is unbearable. You will not wish it on your ex-spouse or your worse enemy.
When we flew back into Brisbane on Monday 15 Jan 08, I knew I could not go to office that day. I called up the office to say I was sick. It was a sickness in my soul. I spend two days at home hoping I gain some comfort from the magpies and butcher birds that befriended us. In short time, they came. But there was not the pleasure that I had known earlier. As if everything took place in a distant part of my mind.
I knew Mr Yu forgiven me from the first day for my unforgivable lapse. He and friends tried so hard to cheer me up. When I wrote that account of how Tinkerbell was lost with a heavy heart, I had not realised that you all forgiven me and prayed only for Tinkerbell recovery. So many of you wrote to me quoting passages from the Bible, and from the Koran, and from Buddhist scriptures. I knew those were words of comfort. S…@cox.net created magical Jacquie Lawson electronic greeting cards to me for both the before and the after that I wish he can send to all via a comment here.
I was sent a video below via Livejournal comment which touched me in a painful way and resonate with what I felt.
I thank you all for trying to give me solace in my time of despair. It was still very raw and I just could not forgive myself. Comfort and peace could not be with me.
Then on that evening, I received an email from MeiMei, Yu little daughter. As her PC was infected with virus and Trojans, I was about to delete that sight unseen as so many of her earlier emails to me were send by viruses to me. Then I saw it did not have attachment.
I clicked below. I am fluent in spoken Chinese but words written even by an 8 year old were a bit beyond me. But I could recognised that email had Thinkerbells sprinkled liberally inside. And I could recognise enough key Chinese words to know good things happened.
And her ‘YA!’ in that email screamed at me.
Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2008 19:44:05 +0800 (CST)
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (not her email)
I hope you all are not offended if I tell you that MeiMei email that I could not exactly comprehend comforted and healed me much more than all the passages from Bible and Koran and Buddhists scriptures. It was then my turn to scream to my wife to come immediately in a voice that can be heard all over the neighbourhood.
I made her read and re-read and re-read that email to me so I could savour again and again and again that exquisite pleasure of that letter from MeiMei.
That letter went
“ I give you a nice surprise. This morning mummy went to Miaoli (a city 200km North of Chiayi) to pray for Tinkerbell return. Midway through the prayers, she received a call from this lady telling her a bird that look like Tinkerbell was found at Bantienyen . The letter ended saying Tinkerbell was back home again and that my heart can be at peace as the Gods ended the joke that was played on me.’
I aged ten years in the weeks when Tink flew away and I tried so hard to get her back. MeiMei email gave me back nine years.
I then called Mr Yu to hear from him. I was not very coherent in thoughts or talk with him then. And I was at peace with myself and back in love with life. And I then immediately wrote that little note to all of you that yes! Tinkerbell is again with all of us around the world.
I was not very coherent with the rest of you either. Neither was I able to sleep the rest of the night as waves after waves of irrational happiness swept through me.
I was so afraid Tinkerbell flew down and down below Bantienyen to the vast plains and out of the circles of eyes and ears I depended on. Since Tink was recovered around Bantienyen, I thought in my mind the extensive coverage we made of Juchih and the Zen temple were wasted. The only useful part was the meeting with the Formosan Blue Magpie farmer and his first clear lead to his friend that indicated Tinkerbell was alive.
I called Mr Yu again the next day for the telephone number of the lady that called him so I could thank her personally. I also wanted to ask full details how Tinkerbell was recovered.
Brisbane is 2 hours ahead of Taiwan. I thought it best for me to call in the evening, and Mr Yu had to call that lady first to let her know I would call her . So it was a couple of days before I spoke to Ms C and could thank her for rescuing Tinkerbell and returning the rest of my life to me.
Ms C told me she was actually living in Taoyuan (Peach Garden) hamlet in Juchih district. She went to visit her former boss and friend in Bantienyen on the 16 Jan 08 morning and saw Tinkerbell in a cage. She told me that on the morning of 15 Jan, Tinkerbell was seen trying to eat chicken feed left for the chickens at her friend’s house. They had a dog and was frightened for Tink safety. They then took Tinkerbell in. Ms C recognised Tink from a poster that her grandfather had given to her in late December. After discussions with her friend, Ms C called the Yu that morning.
There were many unanswered questions. Just how was Tinkerbell taken in? Ms C did not know.
So my earlier efforts in spreading that circle in Juchih was not wasted as I had first thought. I even recalled that elderly gentleman I so nearly did not stop to speak to. But at that time, we ran out of prepared posters. We stopped so that my wife could cut more posters and this solitary old man was having a slow walk nearby. I approached him with my story of Tinkerbell and left him a poster that he took and turned away without a word. I did not realised that started the chain of events that led to Tinkerbell’s return. With so many people who spoke to me, it was this silent gentleman, in an area so far away, that was instrumental to Tinkerbell being back with all of us so soon.
MeiMei wrote to me again telling me that Tinkerbell was back to her normal self. Tinkerbell appeared afraid and distant from all of them the first couple of days.
I called Mr Yu to try to find out more. All that was known was that when Tinkerbell was finally caught, she still had her red harness on. That family took Tinkerbell to a vet in Chaiyi to cut and remove the harness that day. (which got me kicking myself that I did not cover the vets in Chaiyi )
The leash line was cut quite near the swivel joint, where the leash line connect to the body leash. Tink could have easily chewed through the harness (of soft shoelace) but she did not. I tried to get the phone number of that family who found Tinkerbell to find out more details. But at this stage , and as the important Chinese New Year was around the corner, Mr Yu advised me that might not be appropriate. That it was enough that Tinkerbell was back.
All the time, I thought Tinkerbell was recovered in the village around Bantienyen or even just behind that temple of Bantienyen. Then in that last Saturday call to Mr Yu, I found out that Bantienyen was used liberally by him. That Tinkerbell was rescued by this family at SiaoMuWu (Little Wooden House).
That gave me the final shock.
That place was about 2/3 of the distance and elevation up from Bantienyen and back towards the pavilion where it all started.
Tinkerbell either never flown lower down to the plains as I have feared and thought she would have done. Or that she did so, but she flew back up the side of the mountain. Tinkerbell clearly knew the raptors were up there but she went back maybe hoping to find me again.
She then allowed herself to be taken in by that family and her eventual return to all of us.
You all know I will return to Taiwan again. I will thank Ms C once more and will go to that family living above Bantienyen to thank them and find out from them all the details.
In the meantime, you might like to revisit my wife Flickr folder
Bantianyan search 12-07/1-08
Many more photos of that search had been added to that folder.
Finished 30 Jan. 08