Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We Are to Be Dead Birds, But Not Today

Look both ways before crossing the street Space Travelers.  This evening, while driving home, a squirrel darted into the road.  The car about 20 ft in front of me in the lane to my left prevented the squirrel from making it all the way across.  I made for a hasty retreat, but  Johnny Freedom Karr was headed right for it.  I could not stop, nor did I have the maneuvering room to turn.  I saw the squirrel flatten down just before its small frame disappeared behind the horizon of JFK's hood.  It was hard to tell if the squirrel would be clear of my wheels.  After passing over, I looked in my rear view mirror.  I saw nothing.  It vanished.  I was relieved.  Twice before, I've struck an animal...

...Both were birds.  

One instance stands out in my mind.  I was on my way into work one evening, and two birds swooped down.  One went too low and I struck it.  I heard the soft sound.  I'd swear I could feel it in my hands through the steering wheel.  I know that's very unlikely, but when it happened, I felt like it  struck my heart.  I was pierced.  

As I drove, I looked back in the mirror.  I saw it laying in the road.  One wing up in the air.  It was beating its raised wing with a terribly frantic rhythm.  That, or it was already dead, and it was the wind that simply moved the bird's lifeless wing.  As I slowed to the stoplight, I continued to look back in the mirror.  The second bird landed next to dead or dying bird.  It hopped around with its head down looking at the wounded bird.  I'm not one to anthropomorphize animal behavior*, but I couldn't help but try and put myself in the bird's head.  Did it know what had happened to the other bird?  Did it feel sad?  Did it hate me for killing the other bird?  I pondered things like if they were mates, and what our chance cosmic encounter could mean.  Did they have a nest?  Eggs?  How long would the bird stay there by the dead bird before it flew off?  Would it return to that spot later, or would it leave and never think of the spot or occasion again?

The light turned green.  I could not stay there.  I drove on, and as I left, I saw the bird still there bouncing around looking at the ground.  The scene faded from view, but not from mind. Thoughts of this bird would be in my head all day while I worked.  

This was life.  This was nature--It was not cruel, but indifferent.  In my life, I'll have to be the dead bird only once, but all have to be the surviving bird numerous times over.  I think the terror is that I realize I'm more prepared to die than to deal with death.  To mourn is agony.  It is not beautiful.  So while I'm not the bouncing bird, I'll still have to fly away; I'll still have to still go when the light turns green.  When death takes my friends and family, I'll have to keep moving.  I can't stay arrested on the side of the road trying to understand it, there may be no answer.  I can't just stay angry and blame something.  I can't simply regret this... regret that.  I'll be a dead bird one day, but until then, I can't use my life just staring at the earth.

*Space Traveler Fact:  Anthropomorphizing is reserved for electronics and vehicles.

11 Bumper Stickers:

Bark-n-Dog said...

You are really brave leaving a image thief photo on your web site. You must have used someone's pic without permission. Must be bad for visitors with something like that in this post.

Brien said...

"image thief"? How dramatic.

CopyrightViolation said...

Dramatic? Illegal! Copyright violation! That's what this dirt bag deserves when he does not get permission to use a copyright photo!!

Bream said...

What an ass! Are you so blind that you don't see that you have a stolen image on your site? You are a jerk off and a person who steals, bandit, burglar, cheat, clip, criminal, crook, defalcator, embezzler, heister, highway robber, hijacker, holdup artist, housebreaker, kleptomaniac, larcener, larcenist, lifter, moonlighter, mugger, pickpocket, pilferer, pirate, plunderer, porch climber, prowler, punk*, purloiner, robber, scrounger, shoplifter, stealer, stickup artist, swindler and a common prick!!

sub_par said...

I am REALLY enjoying the onslaught of insults you've been getting here. faaaaantastic! ha ha ha.

Chi said...

Yeah. I'd delete them, but they are awesome.

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