Sunday Sermon play me

To those of you who expressed a bit of concern, via comments to the post that precedes this one, that my Sunday Sermon would be of a religious nature, I say to you this: Religious? Right.
I am by no means religious. In fact, I detest organized religion. I pray to no one except whatever god(dess) is in charge of making sure my hair looks good on those days when I venture out of the house. The last time I was in a church was a few weeks ago, when I visited Trinity Church downtown to attend a free harpsichord concert that bored me to near tears. And the last time I was in a synogague was … well, I can’t even remember, but I do know that I was in one in 1974 for my brother’s bar mitzvah. So don’t worry your pretty little heads. There will be no religious prosyletizing. But there is a nice spread of bagels, lox, and all other manner of smoked fish and accoutrements, including some marvelous knishes that I know will have you coming back for more.
Feel free to eat for the duration, but please be aware that if I can’t hear myself speak above the sound of your chewing, you will be removed from the premises by that tall man standing in back.
And now, without further ado, is my sermon.
This morning as I walked to the gym, I glanced down at the sidewalk as I often do to make sure that I wasn’t stepping on anyone. Now, by “anyone” I don’t mean the obvious streetperson, but the occasional errant spider or other lifeform. I’m also curious to see what sort of garbage, in the form of flyers or half-eaten food, is around, because I like to look at almost everything. Everything to me is a veritable feast for the eyes, and I am ravenous for all that I can consume.
I almost wish I hadn’t looked down. There, in the middle of the sidewalk, was something that I wish I didn’t have to see. It was a small bird, just a little gray guy, a common variety that everyone has probably seen. His delicate wing feathers, stirred by the slight breeze, were all that moved. Indeed, they were the only part of him that will ever move again, because the rest of his body was squashed so deeply into the pavement that it seemed to be part of the concrete.
What happened to this bird? There was no tree around from which he could have fallen. He was in the middle of the pavement, far away from the deathtrap of tires. And somehow I don’t think he died of natural causes. Who could have stepped on this bird, and not have noticed … or noticed, but just didn’t care?
As if it wasn’t depressing enough to imagine this little bird’s life being squashed out of him by an uncaring foot, I had to let my imagination run away a little further, until I was asking questions I could never answer. How many people, in their rush to get wherever they were going, had to have stepped on this bird after he died? There must have been a moment when somone noticed that he was there and didn’t care enough for his dignity to at least move him off to the side so his body didn’t have to be further mutilated. Surely there had to be someone who cared enough.
Apparently not.
But now it’s too late for anyone to come to his rescue, even in death. His body is so mangled and almost indistinguishable from the concrete that attempts to pry it away would be futile. As incredibly sad as I was to see this bird in the condition I saw him in this morning, I wish I’d been there earlier, to at least move him aside. But knowing myself the way I do, I know that even that wouldn’t have been enough. I know that I would have done what I did when I was a lot younger: I would have found something to pick him up with; I would have gone home and gotten a spoon or something else to dig with; I would have found a place to bury him, even if I don’t have my parents’ back yard in which to do it; I would have asked the god(dess) to go outside her usual jurisdiction and take special care of this poor little guy.
As you know if you’ve been a regular visitor to this site, or if you know me in “real life”, I am a person who isn’t crazy about most people, but who has a huge place in her heart for animals, and respect for all life (even that of the people I can’t stand). I can’t even kill a fly. Or a roach. Every time I see “road kill”, I apologize to the animal for its lost life. I once accidentally washed a spider down the drain of a bathroom sink and was crushed for days.
Today, I was crushed again. Crushed by the sight of a bird’s lifeless body that will never fly again, crushed by the reality that people can be so uncaring, and crushed because there was nothing I could do to save him.