Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Goodbye Little Wilson

{Wilson's Warbler in Fields, Oregon -- spotted on our vacation}
I had a brief moment of sadness the other day that reduced me to a fog of childlike sentimentality and tenderness.  Childlike, I suppose, because it's been many, many years since I've buried a pet and this moment reminded me of those early girlhood experiences, dealing with the inevitable loss of my numerous furry companions.  
While out front weeding, Erik found our neighbor's cat batting around a Wilson's Warbler on the driveway -- a tiny yellow songbird with a cute black chapeau; a bird that is migrating through these parts right now.  Just a couple days previous we'd been thrilled to discover their little flock enjoying food and water in our front garden.  Yay!! -- something besides crows and sparrows in our yard!  
Cats will be cats, I know, but it still nearly brought me to tears to see our little visitor reduced to a feline plaything.  I went to bury him in the backyard and stopped short, repulsed at the idea of putting his beautiful yellow feathers into our muddy soil.  
Usually I'm quite pragmatic about these sorts of things, but something compelled me to dash inside and start rummaging through our junk drawer in search of a tiny, bird-sized box.  Out poured all the strike-anywhere matches onto the kitchen counter and there it was -- my avian casket.  Looking at it though, I still felt unsettled.  Simply put, the box was ugly.  Its graceless blue-and-red trademark design had no place in my plans, as spontaneous as they were. 
Up I went to my art room; quickly, because frankly, I didn't want to slow down and give my inner critic any space to bemoan the silliness of this funeral ritual.  I wanted to go with it, to be a sad little girl for just a moment.  So I grabbed one of my old bird ID books off the shelf and, almost instantly, landed in the warbler section.  Not more than a minute or two later (including rummaging for some fabric scraps in the trashcan), I was set.  I could do this now.

And I did, saying a little goodbye to tiny Wilson, shedding a bit of grief in the process, and then moving on. Content with the closure I'd found, it was time to head back to my garden and my sensible grown-up ways.