It landed at my feet

Yesterday I had one of those days when I went up, up, up and then crashed. If I had ever experienced bi-polar, I would think it would be like this. Let me explain.

My hubby and I go for a walk in the evening to pickup the mail in the post boxes near the apartment main office. It is a time for me to stretch my legs. We talk about our day. The hubby tries not to upset me with work related stuff. I try not to upset him with the antics of our next door neighbor. We always make a stop near the Hawk tree.

For the last few weeks a red-tail hawk pair have been raising a couple of chicks. There were three, but one fell out of the nest during one of our high winds. It was saved, we think, by a guy who claims to save wild birds and animals. I don’t know how he can do it without a license and in a small apartment. Because I made a brouhaha, the manager told him to send the chick to a wild-life refuge. But, that is another story. Let’s just say that he did it.

Anyway, we watch the hawks fly in with small mice and other meat that they stuff down the chicks mouths. The chicks work on their steely-eyed stairs, and we laugh because they are not as scary as their parents. The parents watch indulgently.

So after that experience we were walking around the apartment complex, I was in the clouds when I heard a finch sing a mating song. It was beautiful and liquid. It almost stopped my heart. In one second, it stopped. My eye followed a Western Scrub Jay to the ground. It had stabbed the finch through the neck and was on the poor bird, ready to stab it again.

I yelled. We ran to the bird. My hubby tried to stop me. I could see this poor finch who had just been singing a beautiful song with its throat ripped out. I could hear air going in and out of the bird’s throat. Other than the noise, the bird was motionless. My hubby looked at me helplessly.

I could do nothing for the bird. I did the most merciful thing that I could do. I walked away. The scrub jay came back and took the bird. I prayed that its death was quick.

We had feed the birds all winter, including the scrub jays. Scrub jays love peanuts. The house and purple finches loved sunflower and millet seeds. The gold finches love thistle seeds. We had a no-kill zone.

I knew that scrub jays would kill other birds. I knew that if they were feeding chicks or if they were annoyed they would tear apart other birds. But, it hurt.

My hubby kept saying that he was sorry, so sorry. I knew he was… Except for the last few weeks we have been feeding a little finch with neural problems. We weren’t sure if the finch was a he or a she. We had seen another finch do a mating dance around it. It would sit on our balcony and watch the world go by. This little bird had a head twitch. My hubby would smile and tell me that our little bird was talking to its friends in its head. It would sleep on the floor of our balcony. I would see it in the morning.

The little finch seemed to get better, until I heard it sing yesterday morning– then I knew … it was a little male. It seemed just a little beat behind the others.

When the scrub jay landed at my feet, I knew it had killed my little damaged friend. I couldn’t quit crying. The tears leaked … I cried until I fell asleep.

So let me tell you of life and death. It is harsh. It is quick. One time I was the little bird in the clutches of a predator. When the claws pierced my kidneys, I went numb. Even though I was in pain, more pain that I had felt in my entire life, I couldn’t feel it. It is true. There is only so much pain a body can endure.

It was my hubby who pulled me back. It took me more than three years to come back. But, I couldn’t help the little bird. It was too far gone.