There it was on the sidewalk a few feet in front of us -- a dead bird and its grieving mate standing sentinel. We stopped, stunned by this so very real tribute to life and its longing for connection. After several moments, the grieving mate flew a few feet away to the safety of a fence and remained there while we walked away.
The scene was heart breaking in its stark simplicity.
The film LadyHawke, produced sometime in the 1980s, told the story of a man and woman, their love for each other, and a curse placed on them by a jealous knight. At night the man turned into a wolf and by day the woman turned into a hawk. Only at the liminal moments of sunrise and sunset could they ever see each other as man and woman. Of course, eventually the curse was broken and they lived happily every after. The film makers chose the wolf and the hawk because both species mate for life.
Come to find out, so do a lot of other species mate for life including about ninety percent of the ten thousand or so bird species. Even vultures are counted among the birds who refuse to philander.
Not surprising is the fact that we humans are not on that list of 'we mate for life' species.
When caught in the act, though, we do have a good out. We can, and do, claim to be sexual addicts and admit ourselves to specialized spas where we are pampered into recovery. And then we can learn that relapse is part of recovery and won't feel so bad when we once again prove why we as a species didn't quite make the list.
I hope the bird so dignified and alone in grief back there on the sidewalk somehow manages to once again fly freely. I hope it pulls through okay.
There wasn't much we could do for it except stand for a moment . Maybe during that moment we were able to communicate our deep reverence for life and love.
I hope so.