The yellow body on the bridge caught my eyes and I pulled the mules to a halt. A yellow warbler dead on the cement. I scooped it up in my gloved hand. I could do better.
Dying on a bridge is a lonely way to go. No rotting away gently in the grassy shoulder. No feeding the vultures. You just dry up and one day a semi blows you through the bridge cracks in to the creek below.
The tiny bird’s body was so light in my hand. It felt like I was holding a photocopy of the real thing. Weightless. It had to be to fly I suppose.
On the other side of the bridge railing grew a stand of shrubs. It looked way more comfortable for a dead bird to perch there than lying on the hard cement. I bade the warbler well and launched it in to the afterlife with a flick of my gloved hand.
The yellow body made its final flight and my eyes were ready to follow it through the shrubs in to the dark shadows below. Down through the wide leaves, the branches and the trunk, to disappear deep in the blackness that ran to the creek.
Instead, the flash of yellow landed high up in one of the plants. High up there in the breeze and it was waving back and forth all peaceful like. I was tempted to get a stick, jiggle it loose and let if fall to the ground.
But I didn’t. It seemed that a creature of the air should not plummet to the ground too soon after dying. So I remounted the mules and rode off, the tiny yellow body swaying gently in a large leaf.
I’m sorry you died on that bridge my little friend. It’s not your fault a car mowed you down but at least you body doesn’t have to lie in Limbo until you get blown in to the creek below.