I found two mice dead in one trap this morning.
They looked like siblings. Not yet teenagers.
They looked so impossibly cute, side by side, their heads caught, like little, gray, furry Marie Antoinettes, in that horrible spring.
I felt somehow reassured to know they didn’t die alone. Poor suckers.
While I feel only the vaguest sympathy for the cheeky mice who've died in this kitchen, the bird who thought our kitchen window was the sky the other morning pulled at my heart strings.
The unmistakable thump on the window that faces the kitchen sink pulled me out onto the lawn in search of the poor, unfortunate soul with the lofty, now broken, dreams.
It's a very distinctive sound, the thump of a bird against a window. It makes me wince. It also makes me stop and consider, "Do I go out there and open my eyes to the sadder facts of life, or do I just keep sitting here, typing away on my computer, feigning immunity to nature's wicked ways?
I went out to see. I always go out to see.
At first I was relieved to see nothing there. But, with closer inspection, I found a young chestnut- sided warbler (I think that's what it was.) lying in the grass, still warm, but dead as a doornail. I stroked its beautiful yellow and black feathers lightly with my index finger. Feeling its warmth, its life still burning against my finger tip, I felt compelled to pick it up and see if it wasn’t just stunned. I placed it in the palm of my left hand and saw it had just caught, clever little birdie, a moth in its tiny beak.
It had probably been rushing back home, where is home, to show its mother how clever it was. It never made it home because there in the glass of our kitchen window, loomed a false world, a deadly trap, a siren, a cruel, deadly mirage.
The gray sky, the green canopy, the leaves shivering in the breeze, were all perfectlly reflected there. A glass ceiling?
I could imagine, not only imagine, but empathize with, that sweet little bird flying full speed towards this illusory world, only to meet with the most solid form of resistance. No give whatsoever. Just pure, obstinate deflection. Solid. A see through wall. Poor thing.
I did not cry.
But as I held it there, a soft breeze tiptoed across its lifeless body-- its eyes flat, opaque-- and snaked under its tail feathers making them flutter up and down, up and down, as if it were alive.
And I wished it was.