Have you ever touched a wild bird?
I have. Once.
It was the softest thing. I used to think kittens were the finest creatures, but how wrong I was! As I touched the delicate feathers they felt creamy, almost liquid, as if they did not exist entirely. It was surreal.
I believe it was a sparrow. We were in our school dormitory, my friends and I, chatting about everything and nothing. It was late in the evening, almost twilight. Another weekday. It was then that a flutter was heard and a flash of brown seen flying across the room from the window. Before we could locate where it was even, there was another flutter as it flew in panic away from us towards the ceiling fan, and then a small thud. It was all so sudden. The tiny thing lay on my bed, quivering.
Have you ever held a dying bird?
I have. Once.
I saw its little brown feathers up close. So perfectly crafted, so captivating in its shades. The white underbelly, softer than a kitten’s, softer that anything I knew existed. And underneath, a tiny heart beating. I felt like my hands held the spirit of nature in them, so precious, and so much more beautiful than anything we could envision. The twitching ceased. All was quiet. It was still warm. And soft. Alive one second and gone the next.
I touched a wild bird once. It died in my hands. Afterwards I stood there for a while silently, willing myself to remember how I felt at that moment, treasuring the touch, the warmth and the sorrow, lest I should one day forget how sublime and vibrant life is, and how evanescent.