Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dead Birds (Warning: Bummer alert)

"Who is mightier than death?  Those who can smile when death threatens." - Ruckett

This morning, I found 3 dead baby birds in my garden.  They must have fallen out of a nest somewhere in the tree-line over my yard.  They looked pretty fresh, to the point where I couldn't tell if they were really dead or alive.  I picked the first one up with a leaf, when I saw the next two, I used a shovel, then put them in a leaf bag we've been using for loose sticks and what/not, tied them up and tried to forget about it. 

I sat there for a few minutes, re-picturing their lifeless bodies in my head and I nearly started crying.  Something seemed so damn off about it.  I was worried at first about burying them, since I thought it was an inevitability my dog would dig them up and most likely eat them.  But I couldn't take it, something about there demise seemed so fucked up to begin with, I couldn't imagine them getting a mafia death at the garbage dump.  I wanted them to at least become part of the environment they lived in and somehow make their unusually short lives partially worthwhile. 

So I dug a two foot hole, took them out of the leaf bag and put them into the earth.  I know it might sound soft, but it was heartbreaking. 

It's a truth about the world, or at least a perceived truth that has always fucked me up.  If reality really is random chaos, a series of interwoven events that leave us floating in a constant state of flux.  Every death breaks my heart, and sadly, every life breaks my heart because of it's random and inevitable end.  Being rational and logical sucks.  It's like a quote from that movie Tree of Life..."Nature is cruel, and grace is beautiful".  It's true.  The classical thinker, rooted in logic and visible truth is doomed to merely search for happiness.  Stuck in a perpetual state of existential limbo. 

I'd like to believe otherwise.  And I know the questions I ask open more doors to a series of more open ended questions that no person to ever grace this earth has ever REALLY sorted out.  I've been searching ever since I was 11 years old and I pondered the idea of eternal nothingness, ironically sparked by the Bill Murray film "What about Bob?".  I know the simple truth on both sides, of faith and nature and everything in between.  But, somehow, it just doesn't work for me...and every time I close my eyes the same questions persist. 

I know this a bummer to read.  But it's honest.  I'm not sitting at home taking pictures of my food and or name-dropping the bands I just played in Europe for a month with to all my family and friends.  I'm in a cafe, drinking a soy latte, and thinking about 3 baby birds I found this morning.  Wondering about truth, wondering about my perceived reality and the rationality of my thoughts. 

I did meet Lars Ulrich a few weeks ago, he was super friendly. 


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    -Terry Pratchett's Hogfather

  3. Hugs can help Benny--even if the other stuff can't be figured out. :)

  4. Hope you pick this up mate. I got a pic with you outside koko in London. Just wanted to say thanks. I also have a dead bird story. On Saturday the kids were on their trampoline and a bird was hopping around. I figured it was so big it could fly but it didn't. I went out last thing to see if it had gone and it was nowhere to be seen. Next day on fathers day I found it dead by the back fence. So like you I decided it needed to be recognized so a burial was performed. I guess the moral of the story is to make sure you build your own nest strong enough. Next time we meet the coffees are on me.

  5. I feel less alone because of your honesty...literally the same thing has come into my head in moments like when my sisters hamsters abruptly died and I buried them out by our mailbox after asking and being given her permission...or when I saw my cat rip a rabbit to shreds. It's ugly, and it is heartbreaking. I've never been okay with it, and it's never felt fair or even completely conceivable, and a lot of the time that just makes me feel really bitter.

    To be completely honest, though, reading things like this makes me feel at least more connected with those whom I haven't yet gotten to know that well. If there's anything I take out of chaos it's all the chances we get to meet people because of any little thing. I've gotten to feel really connected because of what your band has given to so many of my friends, as well as myself. I love reading your blog, and I really appreciate your honesty. I can't even describe how much that means to me.

    I really look forward to seeing you again next month in Nashville. Maybe I'll get lucky enough to buy you a drink or two when we meet again. :]

  6. The curse of being kind, and thoughtful, is that the little stuff becomes big stuff. It's called being a good human being with a good heart.

    But, in the words of Dave Hause, don't let your heavy heart get you down...

  7. Any chance for some late night ponderies tonight? :)

  8. Here's my thing - because I too have a worldview that is essentially based in random chaos - with a lot of love and thought and wonder in there. But, I love thinking this way - because it means that barring any greater meaning, any great reward - in feeling that, the converse must also mean that all that matters is everything you do, now. That if there is nothing later, no great meaning of life all you have, all you are left with is you, what you do. How you treat people, how you appreciate the moments with friends, with nature, with knowledge, with music - these then become by reason and logic the things that are most profound. Without a big end, the small becomes the best kind of fertilizer for your life. Kindness now is king. Kindness, alleviating suffering, like treating the birds the way you did, is all that matters because it is all we have. The vast emptiness, to me, becomes infinitesimally small when I think about things this way.

    1. That is a beautiful way to look at life.

  9. I just found two dead birds side by side under my electric fence and thought it weird, not so uncommon to find one which has gotten zapped by the lower electrified wire (especially Robins that hop along the ground). But much to my surprise, I was mowing back yard by the way, I saw what looked like tail feathers coming out of ground in middle of back yard outside the fence, I thought maybe a stick. I reached over and pulled, it WAS feathers, and a dead bird buried head-first. My husband nor I did it, and it was not in an easily accessible place, but I perceived it as a threat, as a neighbor's son was just arrested, and I told her I was pretty certain he'd broken into my home. Several homes had been broken into, he's in jail just a week now. She actually came over but said noting out of the way. Found plates, and fear she may poison my dogs, that are ferocious, but didn't stop the intruder? I noticed they were less ferocious towards her than usual. Will police believe me? Do I report this, or could this have been done by someone else. I have many political bumper stickers on back that may make some angry. Has anyone ever seen this before? I checked out hexes and curses, but found nothing about buried birds, now the two birds side by side seem a bit ominous to me too!

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  11. I myself just started a box garden. The materials I used were salvaged from a construction dumpster. Some plywood, a 2x6, and some leftover screws later, and all that was left to do was coat it with outdoor deck paint to protect the plywood from moisture. Funny... Something that was going into a landfill? And I was filling IT with land to sustain our families' lives. THAT'S synergy! And talk about coming full circle? I also found a dead baby bird without even pinfeathers on it, probably plummeted to the ground from its nest... landing about 5 feet from the box I made for my garden! I immediately saw this as a good omen. Deciding that this was an offering of some sort, I buried the dead bird in the very center of the garden. Then just today, I rounded up some worms to go fishing with. I caught a trout that I was going to throw back, but in taking it's picture it slipped free and hit a rock. The fall broke its back and the fish died. I suddenly saw the similarities between the deaths of the fish and the bird. Tonight, I cleaned that same fish and buried its remains in the soil of my garden. So eventually, I will consume every last bit of the physical being that was that fish and bird. Oh yea... And the worms that didn't get used as bait today? I dumped them into the garden too... So THEY can feed upon the fish that almost fed upon THEM ;o)