Monday, June 15, 2009

A life

I think it's my turn to post today ... probably is. I have no clue what I'm scheduled to post about, either. I don't like to be unsure of things ... it gets me cranky.

I'm unsure right now, so I'm cranky.

So I'm going to tell you about a bird we saw today. Not a hero bird, heroes were last week's topic. It wasn't a teen, either. Didn't get to live that long.

My daughter and I went outside, fed the fish and sat at the little bistro chairs and table nearby. We chatted for a bit, and then I saw it. A baby robin, standing barely seen in five feet away from my feet. It was about the size of an adult, but with short flight feathers and no color yet on its breast. A teen robin, if not younger.

Its head was tucked under its wing, and I thought, "What a dangerous place to sleep."

Then I said, "What a dangerous place to sleep."

(Yeah, I usually saw whatever I'm thinking. Gets me into all kinds of trouble.)

Lauren is the kind of kid, girl, no, young woman, who still likes to poke at things. If there's a frog in the pond looking at her, she isn't happy unless she can poke a stick at it and get it to disappear in a swirl of water.

So as she tensed like a cat to go prod the robin, I said, "No, don't. Just let it sleep."

She wasn't entirely happy, but she went along.

We chatted for another twenty minutes or so, and we kept an eye on the robin. Once another robin raced by dragging its wings. Most likely the mother or father trying to divert the preditors - Lauren and me - who were threatening their baby.

But we ignored the parent robin, just enjoying our conversation and letting the baby robin sleep.

Finally, it woke, fluffed a few feathers and opened its eyes, then closed them as if still tired.

Then life moved on for Lauren and me, and we went into the house to do stuff. Every once in awhile, I peeked outside to see if the robin was still there. Blending well into the ground, it was hard to see, but it never moved.

A bit later, I checked again, and now it was on its side.

I went outside, peered closely and saw rapid respiration, but I knew now it was dying, and it saddened me that this little predator of worms was never going grow to adulthood, never build its own nest, never take flight in a meaningful way.


My daughter asked if we should put it out of its misery, but I didn't want to take the last of its life with a blast of pain. I felt sure it was barely feeling anything, as it didn't know I was even near. I hope I'm right.

I watched for a bit, wondering about death, wondering about the awesomeness of life, as this little creature continued a path that all living creatures eventually take.

A while later I came out with a shovel.

Then I went and hugged my kids.

I'm sorry my post isn't on whatever today's post had to be about ... but I thought this little creature deserved a eulogy.

I don't feel cranky anymore, and I hope no one minds my little tangent.


(now go read something funny ... may I suggest my books?


Martin Bartloff said...

Norm, Thanks for sharing. Living in a neighborhood with many different birds and creatures I can emphasize where you're coming from.

We came outside one morning and found squirrel had drowned in the pool overnight while we were peacefully asleep. Since that time we keep a floating device in the pool, something these creatures can sit on or jump out from.


Mary Cunningham said...

So sad, Norm. Even though it supposed to be "survival of the fittest" it's still hard to watch.

My husband and I seem to go above and beyond when it comes to animals. He once did an emergency medical procedure on a baby duck that had been chosen as "dinner" by a hungry herron. I chased the herron away, but not until he's left a large wound. He survived!

I applaud your warmth and compassion for all creatures and appreciate your post.


undecided. said...

I love your blog :)