I am lying in bed staring out the window, images swirling in my head, my brain hopping around with a vague goal of getting up but no impetus. Two birds fly past the window, over the patio, heading for the sliding doors. One darts left at the last minute and the other flies straight into the glass door. Thud as it hits the door, another thud as it hits the ground. Silence. Then a whimper. Silence.
In the split second that they attracted my attention, I had noted they were Red-winged Starlings. I do this every time I see a bird; name it in my head. I am four floors up so I live in the birds’ space. Hawks and doves fly past at eye-level. Mousebirds nest in the creeper and mannikins munch my grass. My heart jumps at the thought of a starling killing itself. I don’t understand it as they are always around and this hasn’t happened before, not with a starling.
Questions whirl; is it a young bird? is it dead? why did this have to happen? It is horrible. Much as I love birds I prefer them alive to dead, (unless they are chickens). Now I have to go out there and inspect the situation. I don’t want to. If I didn’t feel like dragging myself out of bed earlier, I’m even less inclined to now.
After berating myself for ages, still staring out of the window into the middle distance, I jump up and go to the kitchen to make coffee, avoiding the sliding door. I dread opening the door and seeing the stiff little body lying there. I dread having to dispose of it. I don’t even know what to use or how I should dispose of it. Surely I can’t just chuck it in to the dustbin?
I peer through the glass. There it lies. Little black body with wings folded hiding the red flashes. Though they aren’t really red, more rusty-coloured. Big breath in and I open the door slowly. Next thing the bird twitches, rolls over and flies away.
My jaw drops and my heart lifts. I feel lighter. I sit down, not only relieved that I don’t have to deal with a dead bird but also happy that its alive. I am amazed because it was lying there for at least an hour. Probably stunned not dead. My opening of the door triggered its action.
I think of all the times in my life when I have been knocked down, stunned, bombarded with life events that seemed insurmountable.
Yet I am here still. I realise that I have never been defeated. Only stunned.