Death of a Goldfinch: a sad moment in an near immortal life


I’ve worked very hard to make my yard a habitat for as wide a variety of creatures as possible. I’ve loved these little birds since I was  a child. They swoop, duck and weave in the loveliest flight patterns; wave-like, some may call it. In French, we call these birds Chardonnets: little birds that live parmis les chardons--amongst the thistles. Anglos are much more practical, and call these birds Goldfinches, Finches that are of a golden colour. Anglophones have no idea how unbelievably boring they can be at times. So literal, no poetry. Then again, who wants poetry when you’re trying to keep a plane from falling out of the sky? Sometimes a good, solid practical language is key to preventing human hamburger patties.

I found this creature lying on the grass before my home. I do not know what took him down; I know that my dead little friend is a him because of his bright plumage. Females of the species tend towards a nesting-secure bland brownish. Perhaps he knocked his skull against a window. Hunger is most certainly not a likely cause. Disease? Possible poison? A predator is unlikely. Old age, only is likely if one is an optimist. Regardless, one of one of my favourite species of birds has died, and has laid itself to rest on my front lawn–if one can call falling out of the sky and thudding to the ground laying one’s self to rest. Give me a break! I’m trying to offer the little fucker some dignity and gravitas. These birds generally live a maximum of 5 years, averaging around three. Imagine me, living up to 80 years caring for him, a short-timer, an ephemeral. Our human lives are the equivalent of 2600 years to them. What would you do with 2600 years of life? What would they?

I’ll do what all those that respect life do. I’ll eat him. Once, that is, that he’s been though my compost pile. My poor desolate friend might end up tasting like potato, tomato, carrot or cauliflower. He was beautiful while he lasted, as is his kin, I’ll do my best to keep feeding, watering and sheltering my weaving, flying gold friends. He was an ephemeral in the life of a near immortal.

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