When she was about 7, my little sister caught a bird. I'm sure that doesn't sound all that remarkable. But here's the deal: She was considered a bit, well, hyper.
She'd get so wound up at times, she'd do things like build a "fort" in our backyard, complete with perfect lines, hardwood floors, and a shingled roof, all in one weekend. And that was when she couldn't sit still in math classes, so how she learned to use a ruler is a mystery to me.
Our Uncle Simone, a Frenchman from Martinique, thought she was the best thing since chocolate croissants, which was good, because my dad didn't find her wild nature all that amusing, and it always scared me when I'd see her start to wind up and his patience approach its very short limit.
But Uncle Simone never tired of her antics. He was a huge tease, and once, he suggested that she could never be still long enough to "catch a bird in a tree."
Not one to walk away from such a challenge, she marched outdoors and shimmied up a tree just outside my aunt and uncle's picture window. I was doing homework at the time, and I'd glance outside every so often, fully expecting to see her to kicking a ball around or engaged in some activity that involved full-body movement. Ultimately, I had to put my notebook down and simply watch.
I kid you not, I witnessed her press her wiry little body flat against a branch and maintain complete stillness for more than two hours. Felt like I was watching the 8th wonder of the world.
At some point, a bird apparently mistook her for the branch, and she burst back into the house, bird proudly in hand, huge grin stretched across her face.
The label hyperactive doesn't begin to describe the range this girl had. Today she's one of a small group of female firefighters in Houston. It suits her well, a lot better than any other label she acquired growing up.
And I still look at her in wonder.