During rush hour, while running errands, I saw a flock of doves touch down on the street ahead of me. This is a chronically busy street, and doves are usually good with their timing.
As I got closer, most of the doves flew across the street. One of them turned toward my speeding car and lifted off. I felt the thump under my car and winced.
It was a small death, unavoidable (slamming on my brakes would have caused an accident, no way I could change lanes) but sad.
When I came back from my first errand, a group of people stood in front of the car. The dove had flown directly into my grill, and was dead, but stuck. The small crowd took photos with their cell phones. They asked me what I was going to do. I asked for volunteers to remove the bird. The crowd dispersed quickly.
I felt sick. Over the death of a bird. I also could not bring myself to touch the firmly lodged bird in my grill. I finished errands and drove home. I could not bring myself to clear the bird from the grill. I’m pretty tough. I’ve come across some pretty messy auto accidents and stopped to help. I’ve broken bones in Taikwondo and continued to the end of the match. I’ve had pets run over and taken them to the vet. But this one small life, these fragile wings stopped in mid flight undid me.
I still don’t know why. I’m not exploring why. I called my car mechanic, who not only removed the bird, but didn’t charge me for doing it. Afterwards, I sat in the car and cried. I had the car washed.
Every day in my city, in every big city, people are made homeless, are shot, are falsely accused, are beaten, suffer and die. And I’m crying about a bird with a bad sense of direction.
At the end of every blog post, I try to write a summary, draw a conclusion, explain a lesson. Today there is none. Not that I can see or know. So there it is–just a vignette. Sometimes we don’t understand it all.
—Quinn McDonald is a writer and creativity coach. She doesn’t understand much, but that which she understands, she is sure of.