I planned on being really productive yesterday; after a morning trip to the grocery store, I was going to make a load of phone calls, send a bunch of emails, and do a whole lot of writing (including posting a blog entry). But then, just as I was carrying the grocery bags into the house, I saw it.
A bird, dying, on my sidewalk.
It was still breathing, but it was just lying there on the cement in the shade, head bent to the side, feathers ruffling in the breeze, dark eyes open and searching. I dropped my grocery bags and knelt by it.
“Ohhh, Birdie,” I whispered.
I stayed with it for a few moments, and then I went and put on my gardening gloves and gently, carefully picked it up (it seemed to weigh absolutely nothing) and carried it to the front yard; I placed it in a sunny spot on the soft mulch where it could hear the wind chimes. I stroked its head and its back as it opened and closed its beak over and over again. Then it shuddered, once, twice. And then it was still. The whole thing took probably five minutes, after which I buried it in one of our flower beds, and put a circle of little stones over the top.
For the rest of the day, I felt a little tender, and more than a little somber. I felt as if life had forced me to literally drop everything, kneel down, and witness something profound.