Of late, I have felt weighed down by death. Although acutely aware of how blessed I am with my health, that of my husband and close family, this sense of the immediacy of death began when I watched my Doberman drop dead 6 weeks ago and it has not gone away.
These 3 recent deaths of last week could-perhaps should- be felt as trivial but they did not…do not.
For the last few years, I have delighted in the numbers of glorious Bullock Orioles who inhabit our lives for these early spring months while they build their nests, gestate their chicks and come to feed on the grape jelly and meal worm combination I have learned to keep in multiple feeders.
Spring in the mountains is always a tumultuous season: one day it may be in the 70’s but the next may be a spring snowstorm. Last week was like that.
Tuesday afternoon I watched an Oriole resting on the sugar water feeder in a vain attempt to escape the hail pelting down on the chick. The little guy looked far too young to be out of the nest but I was unprepared to see him lying dead next to one of the cherry trees in the garden the following day. It took me 2 days to pick up the bird and dispose of the tiny body…it seemed so wrong.
Later that same day, I received a post from Rebecca about one of the baby lambs she and her 3 children were raising for a 4H school project here in our decidedly agriculturally oriented valley. Rebecca and her husband had to put down one of the baby lambs they had grown to love-“the gentlest one in the bunch.” For my friend Rebecca, the death of the one they loved the most was a teacher…a lesson to remind us that we control nothing.
Near the end of last week, a friend emailed me about the death of a man he and I had known in high school- a death according to Jeff that was most likely a release from the prison of severe diabetes and dementia which had been endured by our friend Bill for 5 years. The only high school dance I’d ever attended was due to Bill’s invitation.
All last week, I thought about the deaths of the baby bird, baby lamb and the man I’d not seen, talked with or even thought about for so many years and all I could feel was sadness at what felt-feels- like the profligacy of waste.