On my way back from my morning power walk, I saw a feathered creature in the road. There were no cars coming so I walked over to see.
On my way back from my morning power walk, I saw a feathered creature in the road. There were no cars coming so I walked over and saw that it was a little bird struggling to get up. Every time he tried, he fell over on his back.
I decided I would try to save him so I tried to pick him up and at least get him out of the road before he got totally squashed by a car. But every time I tried to pick him up he squirmed and fluttered away from me. But I was persistent and finally managed to hold this little guy in my hand. My intention was to bring him home, see if I could get him some nourishment, keep him warm, and take him to the vet the next day. I thought maybe he had a broken wing. I was only about 15 minutes away from getting home and started walking with him, noticing that he was moving his beak and was still alive. I had to hold him pretty firmly but not too tightly to keep him from fluttering away again. I knew he was still alive since I felt his little heart beating. However, suddenly, his head went limp with the rest of his body and I knew he was dead. That little innocent creature just died in my hands. At first I thought I had killed him by holding onto him too tightly, and I started to blame myself for his death. But, then I realized that I wasn’t squeezing him and he probably just died from other injuries that I didn’t see.
I knew that I had done the right thing by getting him out of the road. Maybe I should’ve just left him lying on the grass and let nature take its course, but I just couldn’t leave him to be eaten by scavengers or to rot away until only his feathers were left. So, I kept walking with his little body and I brought him home. I put him in a little plastic bag and decided I would bury him in my back patio area. By that time his little eyes had actually opened and he was stiff. I dug a hole big enough to fit him and said a prayer that God watch over him and that he be in Bird Heaven. Where else would he go since I’m sure he never committed any sins. He was just living his life when a car came along and ended it. Just a little innocent creature. But he will not be forgotten and I will always know that out back I have a sweet, precious, little bird, who never hurt anybody.
I still feel guilty for murdering my little friend so many years ago. The sadness pops up periodically out of nowhere, and I have to push it back down to keep from crying.
It was finally Spring in Stuyvesant Town—the yellow daffodils had finally started to poke their way out of the soil, the pink buds on the bushes outside of my building were about to bloom, and the grass was turning from Winter brown to a beautiful deep green. I began to dream of long, lazy school free days where I could indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, digging in the dirt, burying ants and other bugs, and watching them burrow their way out, only to be buried again. Maybe I was a little sadist but it was weirdly fun.
One day, I discovered a large bug, and not being squeamish the way I am now, began to play with it. He crawled up and down one hand then the other and I was delighted. I put it in a little jar and kept him and fed him worms. One rainy spring April day, my friend Janet and I could not play outside, so we decided to play in the main hallway where I lived. I brought out my little friend and allowed him to crawl up and down my hands, when suddenly my mother was standing beside me with a look of disgust on her face. She said, “What are you doing with that big bug, that’s terrible. You shouldn’t be playing with it.” At this point, I considered this creature a pet of sorts and could not understand why my mom did not like him. She went back into the apartment and suddenly I decided to extinguish the life out of this little innocent thing. I placed this poor little guy on the floor and proceeded to smash the life out of him—the crack of his hard shell sounded calliopean to me, although I’m sure nobody else heard it. Then I discarded him as if he was nothing at all, when he was, after all, my little buddy. The feeling of remorse and guilt immediately flooded my little girl mind and I just kept thinking, “Why did you have to do that. You could have just let him go.” I tried to continue on with my day, as if what I had just done was meaningless; as if I had just killed a nameless roach, not my friend, but I couldn’t keep from thinking of myself as a murderer.
All these years later, when I relive that moment I am inexplicably brought to tears. I don’t understand it, but I know that sometimes friends come in all different packages, and I know he is in bug heaven and he forgives me.