He was alive the first time we met, early this morning. He was sitting, stunned, on the side of the road. I swung my car around to have a closer look.
He did not resist being lifted.
I was momentarily hopeful.
There was no blood, no crushed wing.
But when I put him safely at the base of a tree in a vacant yard, he was already tipping towards another world. I stroked his silky grey feathers and told him he was beautiful and loved. I asked for him to be taken care of.
9 hours later, I went to find out if he was still by the tree. He was. And his eyes were now vacant. I picked him up again and we drove home to the dignity of final rest in the ivy patch.
On the ride home, because I believe such things, I asked that his red-breasted soul be sent as a gift to my mother from me. She always loved the season of spring.