As I pass through the backyard heading home I see a little sparrow lying on the walkway. Not moving. I kneel next to it as my heart sinks hoping it’d move and fly away; hoping it isn’t dead but may be it is just … resting? But still, the sparrow is not moving. I look around. May be it hit something and collapsed, so it will wake up? But there is nothing around except a few leaves on the ground. I stand up. It can’t be dead. I sit on the bench beside it. May be if I stay here long enough, it will wake up. It’s been 20 minutes. Still, the sparrow isn’t moving. I guess my eyes can’t lie. My heart sinks further. I feel so sad. There must be more reasons why it may look dead even if it isn’t.

When I was nine years old I saw my kitten get killed by a dog in the backyard as I watched horrified through the window. I was banging on the glass hoping it’d all stop but it didn’t. And then my kitten laid there. Not moving. May be it will move. But it didn’t. My mom went out wrapped it and rest it in peace. I didn’t say his name for years. I told everyone not to talk about him either. Topi. No. This is not Topi.

May be the sparrow just lost consciousness for a little bit. But I know that if it doesn’t wake up, I need to wrap its body and lay it to rest in peace. I can’t let it stay there vulnerable to predators or people crossing by. I just need a little while longer … I am not leaving it though, that’s for sure. I am staying right here beside it.

I’ve always loved nature and animals. Since I was a little girl I knew that we can feel each other because we are all connected. And as an empath, I’d feel things even stronger. I’d follow the signs and knew when they carried messages. And ever since I started delving into Shamanism a few years ago as I began my spiritual path, I was able to learn more about their guidance. Even in this surrounded-by-concrete ordinary backyard, I am so grateful to have squirrels, hawks, red cardinals, and rabbits. It is my pleasure when I give back to them. No human should ever be too tall for animals and nature.

So to see this tiny frail sparrow on the ground makes me sad. It is not just a bird. It is an expression of life which moves tears from my heart. Death can be so humbling even when in a body so small. I wonder how differently we’d live our lives if we knew how long we had left. Would we be kinder to each other? Would we stop being assholes? Would we be satisfied with the way we’ve expressed our love and affections towards others? Would we live more mindfully?

It’s been long enough sitting here on the bench. It’s time. I stand up and turn towards the sparrow. It is not there. I look all around but it’s gone. It flew away. With a big smile, I am excited to come home. Wow, things are not as they look like at all. Even when our eyes see it and we are next to it, we just never know.

and life will never life betray

no matter what the books will say

Elevator opens. I walk in. A man walks in after me but I don’t look at him. I press my floor number and press my body in the corner in an exhale that the sparrow is alive after all. “I guess you never know who is next to you,” a deep masculine voice speaks. As if someone just smacked me on the face, startled and shocked, I look at him. “Sorry, what?” I almost sound like an imbecile. He is attractive and he smiles saying, “We live on the same floor but I’ve never seen you.” “Oh yeah, thats true,” I murmur some syllables.

It’s been six months since that day. I am reminded of the time when once I sat on a bench to watch a seemingly dead sparrow un-die. Things are not as they look but sometimes we need reminders. We shouldn’t believe everything we think. No matter how much we think we know – we don’t.

Our eyes are so limited in sight. We only see what’s reflected by light. And even then, we only see through our perception. Our eyes miss so much. Unless we verbalize an image we won’t even recognize it in front of us. We wear blindfolds that we can’t even see – invisible blindfolds. We never know. We just never know who or what is next to us. And it’d all disappear anyway if I turn off the lights. 

Some people may tell us they love us even when they don’t. Some loves are untrue. And lies and pretence have become a normality. Some people smile to our face and tell us how much they care even though the day before they jewelled our back with their knives. And yet, sometimes love and friendships are found in the most unexpected places.

Some people love us even when we can’t see them. They pray for us. They smile when they think of us. They carry us in their hearts. And sometimes it is only our one kind gesture that would make their day special. Some loves are never unfelt even when we can’t touch them. Some loves are never lost even when we can’t keep them. Some loves are never unheard even when we can’t say it to them. We are so desperate for touch and attention that sometimes we forget the real presence.

We think other people have it all together – they don’t. People may think I have it all together – I don’t. And we never know whats going on behind the scenes. We never know how the puzzle pieces of this life will unfold. Even when it seems something is not working out – may be it is exactly how it is working out. Just as the sparrow, somewhere along the way veils and perceptions will fly away allowing only true love to remain.

And may be, just may be, there is already something beautiful hidden right before our eyes.

Thank you, my darling sparrow. I’ll see you tomorrow.

*Originally posted on Elephant Journal