Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall of the Sparrow

I came out here to the desk this morning -- well, let's be accurate, it was just past noon.  I mean to report on Old Age, so let's confess -- these days I mostly go back to bed after breakfast and watch tv movies right through to the end.  Then I wasn't sure what I was seeing through the window here so I went outside -- which sounds more impressive than it was -- I tottered outside with a cane.  And found this bird stuck in the peanut feeder

and definitely dead. 
If I had got dressed at a decent hour, I might have come out here in time to release it.  But that could have been even worse -- there was no way to free that bird from inside the feeder.  I had to tug hard to pull it through.  It would have been terrified to see me -- let's hope, at the end, it was only puzzled.  And I had to pull so hard it would certainly have died in my hand.
So the day started with a death.  Maybe a little death, but a big complete one for that bird.  It didn't know it was simply an expendable common house sparrow.  In itself it felt just as unique and all-important as an ivory-billed woodpecker would.  It was a whole world.  A few inches long, but containing the incredible spark of life.  Warm, operating smoothly, competent -- well anyway, up until the moment it was not all that competent.


  1. And here I was just looking out my window at the bazillion or so sparrows working the weed seeds in my garden in the gentle rain, and thinking of something else you once said: that even a house sparrow is beautiful if you look at it closely. Your meditation on what I know was an upsetting incident is another way of saying this. I'm sorry you had to pull the one that didn't make it out of the peanut feeder--but this post was probably the best eulogy for one that didn't make it since "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."

    Anyway, thanks for today's meditation. I know this incident must have been upsetting--but let's go to another spiritual tradition: "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."

    1. Insufficiently copyedited response (forgot to delete the original second paragraph). But never mind.