I was checking on the tulips out by the grape arbor and decided to check the rain gauge and my bluebird nest while I was at it. Before I got there, lying quite still and cold upon the ground was a daddy bluebird. It was featherweight in my hand when I cradled it there. I looked for injury but there was none to be seen. I saw Certain Man out by the barn where he was trying to put the spring calves back into their pen, and I went to him with my find. He, too, could find no injury or reason for its demise. He took it from me, looked it over carefully and then put it into the composter. There was really nothing else to be done. An especially virulent strain of bird influenza is about these days and he could not take any chances. I understood, but it didn’t seem fitting, somehow.
I decided to check the birdhouse where there had been five blue eggs just a week ago, so I approached the box and knocked gently on the side. No adult bird appeared, so I opened the turn nail and lifted the hinged door. There were some sorry looking scraps of tiny birds huddled in a disheveled looking nest. One or two of them struggled to raise their heads a bit but sank back down. I felt sick. I closed the box back up, went and got mealy worms for the feeder that was close at hand in the tree, rehung a waterer in the same tree and decided to leave things alone. I felt the sadness, deep and penetrating.
“. . .nesting bird nor star in heaven, such a refuge e’re was given.”
It has been a pensive week. Yesterday my brother (who has, from childhood, always been my friend) and his family buried a sixteen month old girlie. It was also Mark, Jr.’s 58th birthday. You don’t say “Happy Birthday” to a man on a day like yesterday. But I can speak a blessing.
And this I do say:
May the years to come mark this day with a surge of joy as you remember a little girl who could light up a room with her smile. May you be blessed to remember that God entrusted Ariel to your family and that you did not fail her on a single count of love or care or faith or nurture. May your heart be light as you remember that you rejoiced over her with singing. And may this day be remembered by something other than a small grave in a Delaware cemetery that holds only the chrysalis of a Heavenly Butterfly that is more alive now than any of us are or ever will be in this life. May the memories that you have made this weekend as a family be the things you remember whenever these days come up in conversation, by inference or in the quiet remembering of your own soul. Although mighty forces have waged war against you and your family, do not anything worry. You already have the victory.”
And I surely do love you and yours!