Sunday, June 24, 2007

Little Deaths

Life is full of little deaths. Each little death, or forced opportunity to let go of that which is clung to, has a message of how to live more fully. How to find the good in the bad. How to forgive and forge ahead. How to see through the eyes of love.
Last week was a busy week for little deaths in my life. It began with a bird in the road, hit by a car, injured, but moving. I scooped up the bird, and cupped it in my hands. It's right wing was broken and bleeding. I held it for minutes, talking to it and telling it how sorry I was that it was going to die, but that I would make it as comfortable as possible on the grass. I asked angels and faeries to attend its last breaths and usher it softly into the next life. Before I tore myself away from the still-breathing bird, it spoke to me.
It told me to stop flying so low to the ground. It told me to raise myself up to the level at which I am meant to exist and meant to soar. It told me that flying too low will injure my wings, injure my wonder and deny me the opportunities of a life in full flight.
Days later, a young grey squirrel was run over by a car ahead of me on the road. I saw the squirrel dash out into traffic and disappear under a tire. I pulled over and ran for the squirrel, lifting it up in the midst of its death throes. One little eye, split like a grape and protruding, was the only visible damage. In the midst of my whispers of how sorry I was for its pain, mercifully, its heart stopped beating. I carried the young squirrel to a grove of trees and laid it at the base of the largest one. As I curled its thin tail over its paws, it spoke to me.
It told me to choose wisely before I rush into anything. It told me things and opportunities that are young and beautiful and seemingly full of promise are not always meant to last. But that there are gifts and and there are moments of grace within every opportunity that comes along. The gifts and the graces may not lie in its duration, but in the intensity of its short-lived beauty.
In order to fly higher and choose more wisely, in order to live fully and love fully, my weighted self-worth must be lightened in a series of ongoing little deaths. A little death to give life to forgiveness. A little death to give life to wisdom. A little death to give life to love.
{Click on to see the beautiful photos and story of the death of the barn swallow.}


  1. barryweber6/25/2007

    Somewhere along the line I came to be known as the go-to guy when people came upon impossibly injured animals, although I have encountered a fair number myself.

    Just two days ago, I found a snapping turtle that had been hit by a car and its shell was cracked right down the middle. But it was still trying to cross the road. I lifted it to the road's side and told it I would help. A friend 'happened' by in his pickup truck, and since all pickup trucks here have a rifle in them somewhere, I knew we could be quick, and whatever reptilian pain was being felt, it would be gone quickly, and it was.
    I often talk quietly to animals at these times, but I will begin also to listen..thank you.

  2. Wow, this is a beautiful post. I'm visiting via Polliwog's Pond. She's right- you are an incredible writer!

  3. This is a beautiful post!

    "Real life usually doesn't begin until we realize how soon it will end"

  4. Glad that you were able to hear the gifts left for you from bearing witness to these animals' deaths.


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