May 7, 2006

A Natural Consequence

It's one of those moments you hate being a human being. I killed a robin with my car the other day.

I was driving with Heather down Rt. 40, right outside of Frostburg, windows down, breathing fresh air for the first time in what seemed like months. Out of the corner of my eye - the narrow cranny, really - something fell.

The robin dropped in a controlled arc, curving down as if on an imaginary track. It shook on the current, wings wobbling to compensate for the cross winds. It was young, perhaps born just this spring. Maybe I had seen it out on the patchy field in front of my apartment complex picking at loose seed with the crows. Maybe not. Maybe I just want to think that.

I wonder what the chances are of hitting a small bird with a car. The collision was almost magnetic; the robin was literally sucked into my car.

There was a price, just as I was hoping. I hope people never get away with killing anything scot-free. You kill a bee, it stings you. You kill a man, you're imprisoned.

Kill a robin, and you have to pull its crumpled little body from the nook under your grill.

Back at the apartment, Heather ran up to grab some paper towels. I hoped it was dead. I prayed that I wouldn't have to "put it down" or "put it out of its own misery."

I picked the robin up, and cradling it gently in my right hand, dug a deep hole with my left. Heather returned with paper towels a bit late, but just in time to lay a bouquet of dandelions over the robin's grave.

I still wonder if I robbed a nest of a mother or father. Robins are nurturing birds, showing great care in raising their chicks.

Maybe I'm being stupid, but here's the deal: we face death every day. I hope someone takes the time to pick me from my nook when the time comes.

No guarantees though, right?


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