A Small Death. The Natural Order of Things in Everyday Life

A Small Death

Lately, I had noticed that there was a lot of bird poop in front of the front door of my house. It was always a nuisance to clean up bird poop every time I found it, although there were always large bird droppings on the windshield of my car.

In Japan, sparrows are common. Their little chirps are nothing but commonplace. When I was in Tokyo, I used to see a lot of pigeons gathering on park benches and begging for food, but in the countryside of Kyushu, I rarely see them.

When I was in Tokyo, I would sit on a park bench and give them snacks, and they would happily eat them. Some people would even feed the pigeons a loaf of bread. You may not have taken a good look at the feet of the pigeons in the city, but I noticed that most of them had no toes. I felt that they lived a strong life even without a few toes.

Crows, too, are rarely seen in the countryside here in Kyushu. However, I often saw crows flocking around the garbage dump. This is annoying because it causes garbage to be scattered around, but the crows are able to survive because they have food.

Yesterday, I was surprised to hear from a Yakult delivery person that there was a dead bird hanging above the front door, but I noticed a white-skinned bird hanging above the front door. Later, I thought I would have to take it off with a broom or something, but other than that, at that moment, I never noticed it.

In the afternoon, when I was about to go out, I found a small sparrow huddled in front of my door. It was still a small chick, but it seemed to be close to an adult sparrow, but it couldn’t fly and was huddled in front of the door. It was alive, but it didn’t seem to be able to fly. I decided to pick up the sparrow by hand and put it in a small gauge for hamsters. The sparrow wrapped itself in my hand without fussing.

That’s when I noticed something. There were two sparrows in the crevice above the front door with their big mouths open, waiting to be fed by their parent birds. I looked up at the power lines above and saw two adult sparrows, probably the parents, looking at me.

The sparrows had apparently fallen out of their nest, and I assumed that the soft-bodied chicks had somehow fallen from a height of about two meters. It was still alive. They are still alive, and they are quiet when I put them in the hamster gauge. It wouldn’t open its mouth, but I crushed some hamster food in its mouth, dissolved it in water, and brought it close to the sparrow’s mouth with a small spoon. The sparrow didn’t open its mouth wide, but it was able to lick the food from around its mouth. I thought it needed to drink some water, so I brought a little bit of food to its mouth again and again. I was relieved when he licked some of it.

He became quiet, as if asleep, but I could see that he was still breathing. I felt that he was asleep.

About an hour later, I went to check on him, but the sparrow had its body on its side and was not moving. It had been alive earlier. Now it was lying on its head and not moving.

There was nothing I could do for it. There was nothing I could do to save the little life.

Late at night, I took a shovel to a nearby park and buried the sparrow. There was no soil in my yard, so I dug a small hole under a big tree in the park and buried it.

Death comes equally to all living things. Some people die with many people mourning for them, but others may pass away without being taken care of by anyone. I don’t think anyone has ever seen the remains of a sparrow living in this everyday nature.

Even as I write this, I can hear the birds chirping. I wonder if they have any food. Will the two little sparrows in the crack in the doorway be able to fly away safely?

In the midst of this seemingly peaceful daily life, there are animals that are still alive. They are not fed by humans. It is only humans who are destroying the environment for the birds that live naturally. I wondered if it was a good idea to build the nest in the gap above the front door. I wonder if it was a good idea to build the nest in a crevice above the front door, where it would not be targeted by crows or exposed to the wind and rain.

I think humans have a duty to protect nature in a humble and modest way.
The death of a single sparrow is not enough.

The sparrow that used to cower quietly in the palm of my hand is no longer there.

A Small Death

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竹 慎一郎