Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Bird and a Burial

A pair of starlings made their nest high in the chicken coop this spring.  The children were delighted to see the daddy fly in and out, bringing food to the mama bird on the nest.  When the eggs hatched, we all heard the peeps and the tiny squawks for food when a parent bird flew in to the nest.  The kids found out that if they climbed high in the coop they could just barely see the little birds.  We heard of their progress and growth as the little birds got bigger.  They feathered out!  They are fluffy!  They are venturing out of the nest!  David rescued a baby bird from the floor of the coop before the chickens would certainly peck it to death!  

I think my little ones were feeling like proud parents as the little birds learned to fly.  Such fun to watch that growing part of life.  Inevitably, the circle closes down on the ending side, and we got to see that too.  Sadly, Angel brought me the limp body of a baby bird.  It was just barely as big as her cupped hands, its floppy head dangling against her fingers.  She was distraught.  The twins were bewildered that such a thing could happen.  Eddie was sad, too.

Angel wanted to put the dead birdie in the sunshine to see if the warmth would help it to wake up, and kept running away from us.  Eddie got the shovel and we scouted out an appropriate burial place.  I pushed the blade into the moist soil, turning over worms and bugs - evidences of life - while making a place for this new death.  Angel slowly placed the bird into the hole and smoothed its feathers.  Freddie peered over the edge of the tiny grave and announced that he wanted to go to Heaven, too.  Georgie hung back, hesitant to be too close.  We said a little prayer and closed the grave.  

With that, we put away the shovel and washed our hands.  Its short life was over, but ours keep going.  Death is an integral part of life, and I am glad that my children can see births and deaths.  Getting too far away from the natural cycle makes us fearful of ends and beginnings.

And I do believe that our deaths are just a new beginning elsewhere.  Our bodies get worn out and tired.  But there is that something, that spirit, that chi, that power that makes us who we are... and that lives on.  I'm so grateful for my faith in that progression - that death isn't the final end - that helps ease the sting of separation.

And helps me to console my little ones when a wee birdie dies.

No comments:

Post a Comment