Making Friends with Death

 

This morning, mid meditation I heard a loud thump on the glass picture window in my bedroom. I paused for a moment, considering whether to stop or continue and drifted off into distraction about hanging a crystal curtain from that window so the birds wouldn’t smack into it and back to the loving kindness practice.

I finished meditating and while teeth brushing remembered the thump. I looked out the window, and through my morning haze and lack of glasses saw a blur down below that was probably a bird. I felt a moment of guilt for not having stopped sooner and made my way downstairs to meet my little friend.

A beautiful, sweet feathered friend lay propped up against the side of the house- his wise black eye still open, wings crossed and feathers cocked. He was stiff and yet still warm. I immediately began stroking his head and singing him a song.

Sweet little birdy heal you go

Sweet little birdy I love you so

Sweet little birdy there are no goodbyes

Sweet little birdy always you’ll fly

Sweet little birdy back to mother you go

Sweet little birdy I love you so

I held him in my hands and stroked his head while his fellow bird friends sang loudly in the background. We made our way around the side of the house to front yard and together chose a place where he’d like to lay. I can’t say why I felt it was a he, but I did. I sang him a song while digging a hole In the earth. I gathered white crystal rocks from yesterday’s beach walk and offered him gifts on his body’s return. I covered him with earth all the while singing, patting the ground as I finished and placing a large rock atop his mound so he’d be less likely to be disturbed. I thanked the sour grass flowers in full bloom and carefully circled his bodies new home giving great thanks for the gift of his presence in life and his brilliance in death.

And in his honor today, I hung that crystal curtain.