Tango the Dog and I were out for a very long walk. As we were approaching home I saw a beautiful little finch sitting in the middle of the sidewalk.
I expected it to fly off as we approached but it just sat there, on this chilly day; yellow chest puffed out, but not moving at all. The bird didn’t register to Tango as a living thing, because he walked right by it without giving it a sniff or trying to pee on it.
At first I walked by the odd bird, but then circled back to check on it. It was clear that the creature was dying.
I took Tango home and went back with a small shoe box in hopes of somehow saving this bird. I’ve seen it done before. I realized that by trying to save it, that I just might push it over the edge and scare it to death. It was pretty helpless there in the middle of the sidewalk, so I chanced it. I didn’t want a cat to come along and eat it.
The bird went into the shoe box with little fuss. It scooted itself until its face was in the corner. I brought it home, wondering which of my neighbors might have some birdseed. I used a little straw to put some water by its feet in hopes it would drink. It leaned over and died.
The picture above was taken less than a minute before the poor bird passed, while it literally still had it’s last breaths. I watched it’s body as life left. It was unmistakable. It has been a long time since I’ve seen something/someone die that quickly.
It’s laying in the box now. That puffed up look it had when I first saw it is gone. No bravado. No pretense. No fears, worries, nothing. It has a little hole waiting for it in my back yard under the peach tree. A peach tree which, right now, is blooming.
As I write these words, this eulogy, I am aware the other birds singing. I wonder how this particular little fellow came to be in my path today. As Lent is coming I recall quite clearly that we all return to dust eventually.