A Little Hermit Thrush Visits

It was a little too cold this morning to sit outside to read the Sunday Times. But I did it anyway. The sun warms the Adirondack chairs by the pond and that’s precisely where I wanted to be.

So. I put on my down coat. And took my coffee with the paper by the pond.

I wasn’t out there 10 minutes when a bird splashing in the waterfall caught my eye. It’s not unusual for birds to visit the pond. They love to bathe and drink and splash and enjoy.

But this little fellow was different. He was trying to hide. I watched as he somehow climbed behind the waterfall to burrow into a space between the rocks.

He hid that way for a few minutes or so. Just his tail showing. So curious.

And then he popped out. And sat on the rocks long enough for me to take his picture.

But he wasn’t looking quite right. He flew awkwardly to the sidewalk where he hopped about to find a safe resting spot. But not out of harms way.

The dogs came charging down the walk and he didn’t move at all. Both dogs being of the hunting variety… didn’t spot him. Thankfully!  And he hopped through the fence into the alley.

Where he just sat. Behind our garage.

My husband was on the way out. And would surely flatten the little guy in this state. What choice did I have but to remove him from harms way.

I cupped my hands around his tiny little being. And he let me pick him up. He was so soft. I could hardly feel him.

I gently held him for a while in my two cupped hands. Marveling at his delicate beautiful little being. Worrying for his safety. Deciding what to do. Finally. I took off my jacket placing it on the ground to wrap around him as a nest. Sheltered from the wind. In the warmth of the sun.

Maybe I hoped. After this little rest he would be on his way.

I left him there for a bit while I went about my morning.

When I checked on him again. He was dead.

And so.

Death.

I know we don’t reflect on impermanence and death enough. It seems morbid? But it’s not. It’s just the way things are.

From Lordro Rinzler’s Book The Buddha Walks into a Bar:

Reminding ourselves of death is what allows us to live our life to the fullest, and to take advantage of the time we do have on this earth. As a result, death is a friend because he reminds us of the preciousness of life.

I guess this little guy visited the pond this morning with a gentle reminder of how fragile life is.

I went for a two hour run later in the afternoon. And cherished every second of it. What else could I do? To celebrate the visit from my friend the hermit thrush.

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