"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Tears for a Thrush

The early morning stillness is shattered by a percussive thunk against the bay window. It brings the pup onto all fours out of a sound sleep and sends the cat flying from my lap for the high protection of the counter. 

I don't need to look up from the paper to know what I'll find. Don't want to look up, but can't not. This was not a gentle ting against the glass that might result in a confused fluttering back to the bird feeders. This was too hard. Too hard to be survived. Too hard to be a siskin or junko.

My eyes rest on two small gray breast feathers clinging to the window. Backlit by the light blue promise of a sunny day. Nothing else. 

I get up reluctantly. Hoping to see nothing. Hoping against hope that whoever hit has flown. Hopeless hope.

A varied thrush twitches on the ground where she landed. Eye closed under an orange brow. Long black beak opening and closing in an almost peaceful rhythm. Tangerine and gray body heaving, struggling. Impossibly thin feet curled against the winter-dull grass. Her one exposed black and orange chevron wing spread but oddly still - the pattern strikingly beautiful.

I don't know what to do. I say I'm so sorry over and over. But I don't move. Anything I might do will only increase or prolong her suffering. And so I stand witness. I watch her body struggle to hang on to life and then gradually release life. I open my heart to share her pain. I wait with her until there is no more movement. 

As I turn away I'm surprised by the tears that tumble out of my open eyes. I wonder why I'm crying for a single winter bird when I can't cry for much larger suffering. Much greater loss.
My childhood suffering. The suffering of friends and family. Suffering inflicted globally, intentionally and ignorantly in the name of gods and power and right and wrong.

I move back into the day with the tears as companions. A day spent home to rest my voice which has been hoarse for the last week. I'm carried by the ebb and flow of the tears and surprised by what calls them into fresh surges. A gift from a new friend. Thoughtful words of kindness from an old friend. The sweet comfort of Toby's kisses.

The day is only half gone. My voice is stronger. The thrush's gift is received.


Mark said...

Wow...a different kind of writing. I've become so amazed by the "tear" triggers that each of us has. For you, it was watching the life drain out of a defensless little bird...for each of us, something different.

I'm glad for you that the tears flow because it seems there is always healing and cleansing...of something...as they find their way down our cheeks. Because with them come healing.


La La said...

I am crying. You are such a powerful writer. You put me right there in the moment with you. Watching. Waiting. Opening my heart. Crying. Wow.

You bless me with your gift with words, with your power of story-telling, and with your keen ability to capture images and moments so vividly.

Sending you love and hopes for restored voice. Glad you took a break, but those kiddos are awaiting your hugs and smiles and calming voice! Big smile.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

This is incredible, Deb. Just lovely and very powerful!

FrecklesandDeb said...

You touched my heart. Your descriptions of the event, the bird, your emotions...wonderously beautiful. I'm crying along with you.

Anonymous said...

This is so very, very sad. I did not want to go look either. Your writing takes me there with you, it blows me away. I had tears in my eyes, right from the begining. That beautiful, free, winter bird, dying like that. I am so sorry. Love the healing of Toby's kisses.

Suzy said...

Your vision has changed....it's opened up more an more,and it shows itself in your writing and thoughts.

Beautiful piece Deb.


Suzy said...

"Tears for a Thrush"


Jerri said...

Your voice is, indeed, stronger. Your writing, always fine, is becoming deeper and richer with every post.

This is a beautiful example of the power of words. It is a privilege to be present for your growth, Deb.


Anonymous said...

Deb, This is off topic a bit, but could you give me your wisdom on my recent post. I appreciate your last comment, but I have an interesting dilema.

grammer said...

I would have cried too, and I would not have questioned it for a second.

Nevermind the big stuff. The intimate blessful moment you experienced with the thrush is the big stuff.

I am sorry for the little bird, and grateful for your vast heart.

xo t