Some cat killed a bird in our yard the other day. By some cat, I mean either one of our own two cuddly killers, or the strange new neighbor cat who was only a half-hour earlier shooed away from our teenage chickens. By in our yard, I mean we found the bird dead in our driveway-turned-container-garden-site just after Natalie had brought said chickens back inside their temporary home in our laundry room. The bird in question was, I believe, a chickadee. Echo named “her” Tweety. Even though we thought it was a male, Echo said we should refer to Tweety as “her”.
Even though, she’d never known Tweety in life, Echo was moved by Tweety’s passing, and initiated a funeral that stretched on for almost an hour. Xi, Natalie and I, mostly by proxy, also became intimately involved with Tweety’s passing rites.
After Natalie brought her over, Echo carried Tweety around for quite awhile. She wandered off and had some quiet time alone with Tweety which seemed to involve some prayerful moments like this one, in addition to showing Tweety around the yard, wishes for a good next life, various different goodbyes, and what I think was also a short pretend during which I saw Tweety being flown around (on her back) over the strawberry transplants. Natalie got cold and went inside for a bit. Xi got bored and went to play. I continued digging out the post-remodeling corpses of our gardening beds.
When she was ready, Echo reassembled us all for the burial. We laid Tweety in the agreed upon spot along side the bed where I was about to put a bunch of compost and dirt. We cleared a little trench, and Echo fussed over Tweety’s positioning.
Echo wanted us to make sure Tweety was comfortable, so we gave her this rock pillow. Then Echo and XI set about inventing reasons for and adding new adornments to make Tweety’s burial just right. We all said a few words in Tweety’s honour, and stood silent for a brief moment.
Eventually, I put a leave and grass blanket over Tweety, and some dirt on top. Then life slowly went back into real time. Natalie ran back inside. The girls went back to playing. I went back to digging.
It was the next day before I returned to completely filling in the area around Tweety. I almost stepped on the spot. In a matter of fact way as though to let me off the hook if I did step on Tweety’s grave, Natalie said, “Echo and I dug her up earlier today so Echo could see if Tweety’d started decomposing yet…”. I thought her grave looked different, and was, in fact, trying to convincing myself I hadn’t put my foot in it, so I was glad to hear this news.
I asked what they’d discovered. Not much had happened yet.
I did get Tweety fully buried today. I even put another layer of compost and some cardboard around and over Tweety’s disheveled grave before covering it with freshly sifted topsoil. I hope she’s comfy there by the irises and strawberry transplants. I also hope I don’t have to dig her up to check on her progress for quite awhile.
I’m also extremely thankful that I’m in this family.