a Small Death in the A.M.

I was the sole witness to the end of a life the other morning. It’s been silently sitting with me, asking to be written down.

Tiger, my faithful/goofy Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, pulled us out of our usual route, as he does sometimes, and I let him take the lead, as I do sometimes.

He stopped to sniff, and I heard a sweet commotion in the street: it was two birds bickering. I watched, amused, as they chased and pecked and chirped at each other near a black, full-sized SUV, which was stopped at a red light.

A third bird soon joined in the fray. What they were fighting over wasn’t clear, but I soon became concerned over their proximity to the back tire of the giant ego-boosting machine. “They’re birds,” I thought, “they’re quick, and smart, they won’t get hurt.”

I was wrong.

The light changed, the SUV rolled forward. Two birds flew away; one couldn’t. Its insides squirted out of its mouth as its body was flattened. I gasped and held my hand in front of my mouth. A bicyclist rode by and stared at me. The half-crushed being in the street struggled, slowly succumbing to death.

I looked away. More cars passed. I looked back. The bird had been run over again by another car. A sense of relief came over me: at least the poor thing’s suffering had come to a quick end.

The SUV driver was oblivious to all that had transpired.