Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Yesterday a sparrow flew into a window inside one of the places I work. I didn’t see this accident; this confusion of egress. A colleague did, and said she just flew into the window frantically and fell to the floor.

Against all the protests of No! Don’t Touch Her! I picked her up. There is nothing to fear in nature such as her. What was she going to do? Peck me? That would be a minor injury. She was motionless, and made no effort to escape my intrusion. Her eyes were bright. She was warm, and a soft thrill met the finger I placed on her chest. She was paralyzed and alive. My heart bled.

I took her back to my office and regarded her closely. Her eyes remained bright and her body remained warm. At first I thought there was nothing I could do. And then I realized that I could be with her while she passed. No one should be alone in either birth or death. That was what I could do for her. I could send her love.

Fortunately I had set aside a few hours to work at my desk on some projects, so I could easily accommodate this small creature in her dying hours. If I held my hands in a slightly convex Namaste/Prayer position, she completely fit. I offered her Reiki twice over the next hour and a half and twice she took it. I prayed for her safe journey, whether it be to recovery or to leave. She remained warm and motionless. Her eyes continued bright. The chest thrill began to fade ever so slightly. Any thought I had that she was merely stunned and would make a theatrical recovery to suddenly rouse and fly away left me.

I held her in the crook of my arm, and checked on her between drafting pages on the computer. Another hour went by. Finally I held her in my hands and felt her pass. The energy left her and the light in her eyes extinguished. Slowly she cooled, and then her nits and fleas left her. It was at that exodus of parasites that I knew it was time to wrap her body; she had gone and flown to the light.

At the end of my workday I regarded this slight corpse that was next to my purse. I took her on my evening walk and adjusted my route to take me to a very happy park that is out of the way and known to only a few people. I left the path and made my way to an out of the way copse of trees. I unwrapped her and laid her to rest nestled in some sweet grass under a pile of dry leaves. It would have been wrong to bury her; that is not the way of birds. There she can gently return to the earth undisturbed.

At home later I felt a gentle release in my heart, and I let the tears flow. I cried for the honor of having been with her at her passing; at being permitted to share such elegant tragedy. I wept for my own past traumas, and maybe resolved them just a little further. I cried for reasons I couldn’t even articulate. I had experienced something profound. This little sparrow had taught me so much.

Tonight I went out of my way to drive by the park and stopped. I did not get out; she did not need me poking at her resting place. I looked in her general direction, about half a mile in from where I was. It felt peaceful. I knew she was free.


  1. Beautiful story :-) Thank you for writing and sharing it.

  2. Beautiful! I'm always finding dying birds heart-wrenching. Now, who knows...this heals me a little. To know that being with them was enough. And I'll have a few more bird friends in heaven among all my bird acquaintances. -C