In the bright afternoon light a sparrow mistook the reflected sky for sky. The thud of the impact drew our attention away from our books. How could we read with a sparrow stunned and trembling on the other side of the glass? The eyes blink, the chest rises and falls, the claws clench as if holding onto a branch we can not see. Will it die? my son asks. I don't know, I don't know. The sparrow breathes faster now.
I hold my son close to me and we watch this spark of life burn. Except his breath and his blinking pupil-less eyes, the bird lays perfectly still staring up. We dare not touch it; other birds raise a cry from the branches, entreating. We look at the patterns of the legs, the way the feathers lie close to the chest. God knows when even a sparrow falls. I can't bear to think of it dying, splayed on our deck. I pray aloud, for healing, for peace if the injury is too great. How many similar prayers have others said for me?
When I open my eyes, the sparrow's breath has slowed. Let's let it be. As I stand, the bird flutters then rises into flight. He'll have a headache, my son laughs. The sparrow becomes once again just one of the flock, chattering noisily in the backyard. Thank you. For the sparrow, for this day, for life.