Thursday, May 29, 2008

Casualties are all around me.

Tuesday afternoon I found this bird lying on its back in the dirt at the edge of the driveway between the awning shop and my grandparents' house.  Its eyes were open but its neck was at a weird angle and it seemed only able to move its feet a little bit.  I thought its neck might have been broken, but I couldn't really know.  It was clearly dying.

I picked it up as gently as I could and held in in my cupped hands.  It was so light and soft and it looked at me and blinked and panted with its little dark beak open.  I carried it over to the big oak tree in the middle of the yard and put it in the middle of a tuft of grass so it could die somewhere better than on the rocky dirt of the driveway.  

I considered killing it, but I decided that killing it would be selfishness cloaked in mercy because I didn't really know what it wanted.  I wanted to protect its right to witness its death on its terms, so i left it alone and didn't tell anyone it was there.

I went back to my sewing. An hour or so later, I returned to the lee of the tree where I had put down expecting and kind of hoping (again for selfish mercy's sake) to find it dead, but it was taking deep urgent breaths and its eyes opened when I knelt down and looked at me.  So I left it again and we all went to lunch.  

It rained while we ate and I checked on the bird when we got back from work.  Its breast feathers looked disturbed by the rain and it was breathing in measured gasps, but it opened its eyes again as I looked at it.  So I left it alone. When we finished work at five, it was still breathing.  

I looked for it yesterday, but it was gone without a trace.  


mchughtie said...

Oh wow, what a story. I guess your little bird is sitting on some cloud with my baby goose Lester, who died in my hands when I was 14. I love that you're back on the blog.

Erin said...

this made me want to cry a little bit.