I went out the front door to check for the post, which hadn’t arrived.
I walked the short way to the sidewalk and looked down the street, then up.
Looking up the street I saw a sparrow on the ground.
I went and picked it up. I saw no signs of a violent end. Its legs were stiff and its eyes partially closed. It didn’t look like it had been in pain when it died or the death was too sudden for it to register.
I stroked it gently, such a fragile being. Such tiny feathers. Such a delicate creature that usually flits about in and out of the shrubbery. Always in a hurry. Never staying still for long. On the look out and on the move.
A creature whose way of life I can barely understand. Life between earth and air. Life lived on the ground, among the bushes and in the air.
I held it for a long time. Thinking about its life and why it ended it where and when it did. Pondering the reason that I found it, saw it – others had been up and down the street before me. It was right in the middle and couldn’t be missed and surely someone earlier would have moved it. Could have done, but it was there and so was I.
What then, since we were placed at the same place together, is its lesson for me?
The tenuousness of life, perhaps. The need not always to be flitting about because you will be stopped. The necessity to pause and pay attention to the chirping and twittering, of the birds I mean. That life is a gift and a promise to be neither ignored nor dishonoured.
Many possible lessons and no sure answers . . . as it should be, as mysterious as the life this small one led.
Farewell then small soul. May you be welcomed with open wings in the enshrubberied halls of your ancestors. May you join your voice to the eternal dawn and dusk chorus and the everlasting daily chirping that echoes between the silences of the gentle summer’s breeze.
Farewell Sparrow, and thank you for the lessons you will teach me that I am not yet able to comprehend. You rest now on the roots of the rose that climbs beside my front door. I could not bury beneath the soil, one who always flew free in the bright air. I will remember you as I come and go and we will speak in the whispers of wonder and the intimacy of intuition.
Farewell and welcome.