She Didn’t Have To Die Alone

She Didn’t Have To Die Alone

By O’Ceallaigh

Bird House
I saw her lying in the ditch by the side of the highway on my morning walk today. She was on her back, extremities outstretched and quite stiff. I passed by thinking she was dead – it seemed so obvious. She had probably been hit by a car, the driver may not have even known.

Just a bird. A starling at that. Nobody likes starlings, they’re such a nuisance! She was a young one besides. Otherwise, she would have avoided the car. I walked on past The General. The morning clientele were there having their morning coffee, exchanging greetings and discussing the morning news. The was no notice of one little bird.

I got a few yards beyond with that little voice inside me squawking. “Go back!”

That’s foolish, I thought. What possible good would that do. It’s just a bird! And she’s dead!

“Go back!”

I turned around and went back, the hundred yards or so by now. I bent down. The claws on the bird’s feet were quivering.

A dog ran over from The General, – barking! I ignored the dog. Interesting – because usually when accosted by a barking dog I get a certain chill up my spine. There was no chill this time. I was too busy.

I reached out and picked up the bird.

The Dog’s owner was there by my side retrieving her mutt.

“Are you OK?” she asked. “My dog went nuts when you bent down like that. Oh! You’ve got a bird! Well, I’ve got to go to work!”

Then she and her dog were gone.

I gently rolled the bird over in my hand. Her eyes were open now and I could see that there were feathers that were loose from the impact. I pulled them off and checked her wings. No broken wings. Maybe, just maybe….

An old man was standing by my side now. “Are you OK?” he asked? “I saw you standing here…Oh! You’ve got a bird! Not much you can do for it now.”

“Nothing I can do,” I said, “but it’s a rotten world we live in.”

He nodded and was off.

The bird was still blinking and panting. I curled my warm fingers around her to keep her from shivering.

I waited – talking to her. Then I talked to God: “Lord, this is your creature, I can’t do anything but keep her warm. It’s all up to you.”

For a few minutes she was comfortable.

Then she struggled slightly once and gasped three times. The light left her eyes.

She was gone.

But, she didn’t have to die alone.

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