Sometimes the little things just get stuck in your head.
I just drove my son to a friend’s house in my neighborhood. I passed a bird in the middle of the road that appeared to be dead, but at second glance I could see he was still moving. I gasped, said “nothing” when my son asked what was wrong, but I wondered what I should do as I drove him the rest of the way to his friend’s house. Should I drive back and check on the bird? Call an animal rescue service? Run him over and bring him peace??? The thought of purposely running him over to end it for him was unbearable. I immediately questioned myself. What was wrong with me that I would let a living thing suffer for hours just because I couldn’t bear the thought of purposely running over his little body?? I’ve been thinking a lot lately about courage, and realizing I have so little of it. How can I face life’s big scariness if I don’t even have it in me to run over a dying bird? The older I get, rather than feeling braver and stronger, I feel weakened and cowardly. And I hate it. I used to feel so empowered, and now I feel more afraid than ever. Doing the right thing all the time is hard. I think it gets harder.
I drove back to the bird and stopped the car beside him. I realized he was lifeless and gone. It was only the wind that had made me think he was still alive. His little body was still round and perfect, as if he had just died rather than being struck by something. His feathers were beautiful, brown and gray, soft and somehow full of life against the white of the snow. I stared at him for a long time. I know it sounds crazy. I don’t know why this little bird is making me sad today. But he is. He’s laying down at the end of my street and for whatever reason I feel like he’ll be on my mind for a while, keeping me thinking.
I scrolled through Julie’s archive to the time around when I first met her. Saw this post from Feb 2010 and thought it needed to be reblogged.