Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Go on now...
I went out to the front garden area this morning to check on a certain plant I am trying to identify, and as I stood examining it's leaves, found a wounded woodpecker right there at my feet. It's one eye was still blinking, and I had hopes it was simply stunned and would recover. After waiting a few moments, I picked it up to examine it, and found a contusion under one wing area,swollen, most likely the victim of a tooth wound of one of the cats. His right eye was shut, but he was still breathing.
I took him in my hands and went to sit with him in the shade, hoping perhaps in time he would recover. He still held his head erect, and was still blinking. His wings were fine, and there was no open wound. His little right foot was able to grab on to me. But after witnessing the slow 2 hour death of Tucker the chinchilla two years ago, I knew that certain body contortions meant death was progressing. I just told him to fly, go on now, just go, it's OK. Soon after he opened his beak and took a final little gasp. I hope if any of my animals are ever wounded I can be there to help them on. It makes a difference in one's day, life, to witness a death of any kind, even the death of a small bird. Any death, even of a bird only held for 30 minutes, can be symbolic of many deaths past and future - and one should stop, pay homage, and then rejoice at all the life still surrounding. But always, stop, shed a tear, treat it as a gift, pay homage.
I created a little death portrait of him, and buried him in a muslin bag with daisies. When I sat the little headstone down on his fresh grave, I heard coyotes in the upper hills. An unusual time of day to hear them, but a greeting, I'm sure.