July 10th, 2006


Obituary for a Blackbird.

There is a dead little bird on the lawn.

I saw it just now, as I was coming back to work after the lunch break, lying on its back, stiff, with one stiff leg still held up crookedly at the sky. I think it's a female blackbird, humble and brown.

Such is the way of little birds. Barely out of the nest, they hop into the wild world, and you wouldn't bet a dime on their skin. And you probably look aside as they barely survive their first trials in the world; when they face hawks, you call them doomed. And yet they pull it off, somehow, with flying colors, and suddenly you look as they soar.

With the hawks left behind, they wing it into higher skies, toward further, wilder trials. Without reason, it seems like nothing can stop their flight; their chests swelling with song, they soar and whirl and turn as you look on, once, twice, thrice, and absurdly, you find yourself hoping they might reach all the way into heaven.

But such is the way of little birds: fragile in their glory, it doesn't take much -- one misplaced shot, one knock to the head -- to kill them in flight. And you find them dead the day after, and their brilliant flight is but an already fading memory.

There is a dead little bird on the lawn, and the bright summer light seems a bit less bright.