Our tiny friend Bob White (the quail) died today–one little bird that in the wild has less than a year life expectancy. He came in the spring and adopted our chickens as family, but we worried when he showed up one afternoon with a gash on his proud chest. Bob wouldn’t let me catch him then. He just scuttled around speaking in the opinionated voice he had. But with the cold yesterday he teetered my way and let himself be easily picked up. I hoped for the best and kept him bundled close to my heart and every so often he’d glance up with his dark eyes and coo as if whispering the last little secrets he had in the world. It’s a silly little bird, I know, but he charmed me all summer long. I’d taken to checking up on him with a flashlight at night in the coop. How can one small creature meant only for a brief life make life seem so sad when he’s gone?
Does it matter that he died in my hand greatly loved or that he did, in his bird way, speak his final words to someone who tried to understand him? Little deaths all around sometimes make life more unbearable than anything else.