October 06, 2005
Dead and nearly dead things, and thoughts about dying
Leaving work yesterday, I found a small bird that lay dead on the sidewalk, its tiny feathers fluttering in the breeze.
At the train station, just before I passed through the turnstiles, there was a dragonfly flattened on the pavement.
In the night I woke up, hearing some noise from the kitchen. Figured it was the new cat exploring and making a ruckus and so I went back to sleep. While feeding Ulysses this morning, I saw a bird, coal-black, flying around the kitchen in desperation. Ulysses, in hunt mode, jumped up on the stove, trying to get close. Before we could react, the bird had fallen down the side of the washing machine, and Ulysses leapt down and came out with the bird in his mouth. There was a low, terrible moaning sound.
Ulysses dashed around with his prey, then hid under the bed. Scott grabbed a broom to get him out, and we managed to shoo him out the back door.
After a while, watching through the window, I saw the cat open his mouth to check out his catch. The bird suddenly sprang and flew off. Ulysses ran close behind. I hope it got away.
Tonight I'm going to stop by our friend's mom's house. I will clean litter boxes, fill up the food and water bowls for the cats, see if there's anything else I can do to make things a little easier for her. I will pretend to be cheerful. I will try not to be distressed that there's only so much I can do. I help not because it makes me feel good, but because to not help, even a little, makes me feel bad. I grit my teeth and try not to think about questions that have nothing to do with me.
I don't think I've ever been afraid of death. It's the dying part that scares me. How you live your life can have an awful lot to do with the way you'll leave this world. Sometimes, anyway.