The noise I heard coming from inside the chimney flu was almost immediate. A quick and panicked scratching. There was something in there. And it was alive.
I wondered how I could put the fire out, but the newspaper was burning fast, already catching the kindling. It must have been the fastest burning fire I’ve ever built. I suppose my father taught me well.
Then suddenly, there it was. A starling had popped down from the chimney into the firebox, and it was pecking against the glass. It was jumping and twisting, trying to get out, trying to avoid the quickly growing flames.
Instinctively, I reached for the door handle. I had to let it out.
But then I saw that its wing was already on fire. I thought of a burning bird inside the house, catching the drapes and rugs on fire.
Should I let it out? What would happen if I did?
From Moon Over Martinborough, posting Saturday Morning Fire.
The post, extracted above, is not an easy read. However I think it is good to read about/encounter difficult and disturbing truths. A bird burning up before ones eyes, and keeping those eyes open to witness, reminds me of something that happened a good few years ago. It was not about burning fire, it was the FIRE! of a gun.
Cattle that have tested positive for TB are shot. I was just feet away from one of these shooting events. Just a thin wall divided me from the cattle outside who were due to be shot. I could hear them, almost smell them. To run or to stay? I stayed. As it happened I was on the telephone to Adrienne. We both heard the shots, two of them. One each. BANG! and then the crash and struggle as the animal went down. CRACK! and again the thrashing around as the second creature finally became lifeless. We, Adrienne and I, were silent for a moment. It was a moment shared and I was glad of the company at the other end of the phone. Later I went outside and burnt some incense.
I’ll not forget that event, as I’m sure the chap who witnessed the bird burning up in his wood stove will not forget. We can love. Open our hearts when we might reflexively close and turn away.