We've had a string of little dramas in the Young household this week. One particularly crap standout began when Dessi and I were walking through the garden and came upon our cat sitting contentedly beside a pile of feathers. Former bird. Bad, bad cat. Then I saw a teeny baby bird, dead but uneaten, next to the cat.
It took me 15 minutes to find the nest, tucked in the farthest reaches of the bouganvilla's wiry boughs. It was so careful and secure, lined with down from the mama and twine and irridescent feathers from what might have been a peacock. There were two sweet, precious nestlings still warm and tucked away in there. Something about it -- the perfection of it, the care she took, the optimism of it. The idea of her being killed on her way to find or bring food ... it just broke my heart completely open. I cried for days. I am crying still, four days later, writing this.
(Here we are on a happier day):
I sat on the porch and watched for two hours, just to make sure that the feather pile had indeed been their mama. No other bird came, and it was getting cold, so we scooped out the nest and fed the babies ourselves. They ate less and less as the night wore on. By the next day they seemed pretty doomed. Too stressed, I guess, by me and my unbirdlike handling of things.
I put the box outside with a warm heating pad in it, and they both had hopped out and skuttled away within a few hours. Maybe they're alive even now, but I highly doubt it.
In the grand scheme of things, I guess it is no big deal. Some birds are dead, a home is wrecked, and a cat is fed. The cycle of life, the impermanence of all things, blah blah blah. I cause more harm and live with less integrity than my little cat, I am sure. (However, the cat is getting significantly fewer cuddles these days.)
My point being, this is just the way things are and I need to find a way to cry less instead of more as the years go by. I'm 40 years old, fergodsakes. But it's heartbreaking. The whole lot of it. The whole lot of us.
OK, maybe this is about more than the little birds. As a mama myself, and about to be mother to another, and the circumstances of what happens in the universe before these children find their ways to us ... it's not all lost on me.
On the other hand, it was really, really sad. Just for what it was. Just as things are.
Paul Farmer: Humans Aren’t Winning the War on TB - The disease remains the world’s leading infectious killer of adults.
1 day ago