25.6.07

A tiny funeral

Today the Girl found a baby bird laying in the dirt. It was directly below a swallow nest tucked under the eaves 3 stories up. It was perfectly formed; a miniature beak and tiny little wings and feet and small enough to lay in the palm of the Girl's little hand. When I turned it over the translucent skin of it's belly was distended and purple from internal bleeding. The poor little bird had tottered to close to the edge of her home and and fallen to her death. (The Girl insists that it was a baby girl bird because when she was looking at it it had no penis.)

We looked up and saw a bird peering out over the top of the roof. I imagined it was a mama bird looking for her lost baby, her child who had vanished from her home. I know it was just a baby bird, so tiny and fragile, but it made me want to hold my babies tight and never let them wander away from home, ever.

We dug a hole in one of our big planters and laid the little bird to rest. I told the kids that it's body would gradually rot and turn back to dirt and feed our plants. That the birds death would turn to life again in a different form. The Boy worried about the bird all afternoon. "It's sad that that little bird died mommy, it's still sad." He didn't want us to forget about the tiny tragedy that had interrupted our afternoon, he's the type who doesn't easily return to the easy forgetfulness of everyday life. Sometimes I wish he could forget, I want him to be happy and carefree. Sometimes I feel guilty that I have forgotten so much and am grateful that he reminds me. It's when I remember that I am grateful for the blessings I have.

2 comments:

  1. That was so cute. She said it was a girl due to lack of a penis. Sorry to hear the bird died but it is good to let children see things like this. It gives us mothers a chance to explain things so they have a better understanding of life.

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  2. A bird flew into my window once, and my sadness at its sudden demise made me think of the One who grieves for every sparrow's fall. And it reminded me of a line I read somewhere, that the reason we cannot look into the face of God and live is that the sadness would be too much for us to bear.

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