This sweet little Meadowlark lost its life today. It didn’t know that today it would have its last flight, its last foray and last swoop through the azure Kansas skies.
Meadowlarks are precious to me because the name of my elementary school was Meadowlark Elementary School. Birds in general, especially ones that lose their life in an unfair and tragic fashion, hold a special place in my heart.
Once in Salina, let’s say I was in around 4th grade, a bird flew into the end of the pipe of our swing set and got stuck there and died. I discovered it one day while hanging from the bars or creaking on the teeter totter, I don’t remember. I climbed up there and pulled it out gingerly. I wrapped it in a cloth and thought long and hard about how unlucky that bird was. What were the odds that it would crash into that open, tubular space, only about 5 inches across?
I kept that bird. I kept him in my bottom dresser drawer for quite a long time without my mother knowing. He was dried out and didn’t smell and his feathers were so light. The lifeless body held a string between me and the concepts and life and death, with the cemetery being right across the street of our back yard.
It didn’t frighten me.
Now this little bird lays all by itself, with no one to take it home, to cover it, to hold it dear. I left it on the road, being an adult with reason about germs and disease and nature and decay. Reason keeps us from giving into some precious moments, which is a shame too. The child in me wanted to. Maybe I should have put him in my basket with some hay and leaves and given him a proper burial. But I didn’t do it.
How fleeting his little life was.
Photo by A. Locke 2013