Two birds looked dead at first, but upon further inspection I could see they were breathing. They are inside and I'm hoping for the best. Two chicks found a crack in the wall to hide in. Their bodies were so stiff with fear I thought them dead at first. I put them in my shirt while I searched for survivors. Three adults looked at me from high in their perch.
As the sun came up the morning birds threw their songs back and forth in the trees above. My path back to the hen house was paved with dandelions; some of them rose and flew away - goldfinches - I wasn't paying attention. I was thinking about telling the kids. I hurried them out the front door to the bus this morning. I wasn't ready for the tears. The birds we have had for close to three years are gone. All but two of the teenagers are gone. Belly feathers fell from the sky - sparrows were collecting them for nests. The survivors got a drink of water. I grabbed the rake and started to cleaning.
This week the southeastern storms washed away many of my seedlings setting back the garden by weeks. My hen house, inside a fence within a larger fence was ravaged. Around town I've listened to the stories of lambs being dragged off, wild dogs killing kid goats, and hen house slaughters. I wondered if I could escape the experience - it seemed everyone with livestock had their story. How can you ask to be this close to life and only accept one side of the coin? This is the baptism -this is the "jump-in".
I've posted my childhood prayer for animals before. We'll say it at their grave today:
hear and bless
thy beasts and singing birds
and guard with tenderness
small things that have no words.
Rest in peace,
Falcon & Friends