Monday, December 29, 2008

A Hummingbird Story

In early fall, two years ago, I found this lifeless hummingbird ensnared in our garden gate. We always have lots of half grown hummingbirds around that time of year, swooping down on the feeders and playing tag in the air. This one must have misjudged the nature of chicken wire and run out of energy while trapped. It was beautiful and delicate, even when dead.

I took some photos and then worked it out of the chicken wire and showed it to Anna. She packed it into a little cotton-lined box that had once housed jewelry and showed it to everyone who visited. The next day she took it to school to show her fifth grade class.

On the third day she decided to have a funeral. She dug a hole under the pine tree, and opened the box to say a few words about the deceased. The cat seemed to be participating, so she held the bird out for the cat to say his last words. That is when the cat jumped up, snatched the hummingbird, and swallowed it whole before she could do anything about it.

Last summer Anna had another funeral for the one-eyed baby chick that lived only a few days. The cat dug up the deceased and ate it. I'm hoping she gets this funeral thing a little more finessed before it's time for mine.

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