Requiem For a Sparrow
From a distance it looked like a brown leaf fallen from the tree, tucked above the bumper of a silver pickup. A few steps closer and I saw feathers....
Save for its open eyes it could have been asleep. It looked relaxed, peaceful. I wondered if the driver even knew it was there. I assumed it had been hit, one graceful swoop in from the side and then a moment's shock, followed by oblivion.
Or perhaps it had been aged or sick and had sought an out-of-the-way place to die. I've heard of animals retreating, fleeing death the way they would a predator.
I took my camera out. Preserved what I could. I went back into the bank and told one of the employees the vehicle make and model, license plate, where parked. The driver might want to know. "It would make its presence known in a few days anyway," I added.
Sparrows are invaders, one of the reasons America's native bluebird population has dwindled: too much competition. When Au Bon Pain first opened in Harvard Square the sparrows were shy when I proffered bits of croissant. Before long they had turned into brave butterballs hopping on black filigreed tables, fed by a generous clientele. Stuffed with pastry and barely able to fly.
I gazed at the corpse adorning the bumper, not thinking about survival of the fittest or about competition -- only the words, "Poor thing."
Five images make up the collage: the photo I took today of the sparrow; a sunset I caught a week ago on my way home from the post office; the same yellow flowers I had used in Bouquet; fabric I had scanned; and the same Australian Outback road I had used in Unselfconscious Wings.