A small passing

“Failure is a greater teacher than success. Listen, learn, go on. That is what we are doing with this tale. We are listening to its ancient message. We are learning about deteriorative patterns so we can go on with the strength of one who can sense the traps and cages and baits before we are upon them or caught in them.” ~Clarissa Pinkola Estés


It was a holiday Monday, and my husband and I were biking along a busy street to a park at the west end of the city when I noticed it – a bird, perched in the middle of the bike lane. I abruptly stopped my bike to get a closer look.

It was a small brown chick; desperately trying to chirp it’s way to safety, calling out for help. With one leg badly injured, it was unable to bring its little body into flight, lurching closer and closer into traffic. Pulled by some overwhelming maternal instinct, I felt I needed to do something, to guard, to protect, to help. We quickly picked up the bird and gently placed it in the fenced garden of a yard close by.

But as we biked away, I kept thinking about that little bird. Did we do the right thing? It haunted me.

Walking to work the next day, just as I came upon my office building, there on the sidewalk… were three dead waxwing birds, each one about a meter apart. The shock of this scene stopped me in my tracks. I paused long enough to mourn this small passing, to notice their beautiful gray bodies, the black and white flecks of colour, the yellow stripes on their tail feathers.

Shivers went through my body. Death, transformation, change. What is dying or wanting to die? What is calling for change?

That was how the week began, the week of my leave.



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