So this morning was awful.
I am not a nature lover. Anybody who meets me knows this within about 30 seconds. It isn’t like I haven’t tried to like it. I grew up running around in the woods like many kids. The loathing developed as an adult and has only continued to strengthen.
That being said, I would never ever EVER want an animal to suffer.
This morning when I was walking down the steps of my apartment building I could see at the bottom was a small object. As I got closer I felt a knot forming in my stomach because I could see it was twitching slightly. It was a small bird. It couldn’t have been old enough to be out of the nest because it didn’t have feathers. I don’t know if an animal had gotten to it or it had fallen out because it was too young to fly.
I was paralyzed. What do I do? I called animal services but they don’t handle something that minor so they directed me to an “800” number but they weren’t open yet. The animal was clearly hanging on to life by a thread and might even be past saving. I couldn’t tell if it was suffering but can’t imagine it wasn’t. I called a friend and they said that the kindest thing would be to put it out of its misery but how the heck was I supposed to do that? I thought about lifting it with some sticks into the grass but what was that really going to do??? Make it more comfortable as it died? A horrible confession: I hoped a cat would come by and finish it off.
I debated and fretted and ultimately was a coward and left it there. I cannot stop thinking about it.
The image of a bald, twitching bird keeps replaying in my mind. I sobbed all the way to work. I called the hotline again and was able to leave a voicemail. If they call me back I’m sure they’ll be horrified I abandoned it. I truly don’t know what I could have done about the situation.
Of course as a selfish person I immediately start feeling sorry for myself and drawing parallels to my own life. Finding a suffering animal brought back memories of Assassin and fearing I wasn’t taking good enough care of her in her last months of life. The idea that I put her down too soon or that I missed seeing her illness and could have treated her sooner haunts me. Then I think, “How long until I completely forget about this incident?” As upset as I am this morning, will I even remember to look for it when I get home this afternoon? How fickle my mind is.
Most of all I think, “Am I the bird?” Feeble and twitching. Naked and in pain. Nobody to help it. Completely without a voice. Alone. Does it’s family miss it? Do they notice? Is it replaceable?
Perhaps I am being ridiculous. This is the natural order of life right? Animals die. Survival of the fittest. It’s harsh but you have to fight or be strong if you want to exist. To exist…or is it to live… Do things just exist or do they live? Maybe that’s the difference in me and the bird. I can live.
Most of the time I choose to exist. Maybe that’s why I recognized that bird and felt such despair over it. The bird did not have a choice. It was helpless to it’s circumstances. I on the other hand am not. I can choose. I was reminded of what comes from merely existing. The world ravages you and you are left to the mercy of nature’s whims.
I don’t want to be that bird, but somehow I can’t stop feeling like I am. People don’t want to leave me but there is nothing that they can really do.
They have to go to work.