One dead bird
29 June 10
I’m not in the habit of letting my children play with dead animals. But this one flew into our kitchen window with a spectacular BANG and died from the impact.
After hearing the noise, we went outside to investigate. David picked up the honey-eater and showed it to Aisha and Brioni. He let them feel its still-warm body and talked about how it died.
And then, because Brioni in particular showed interest, he gave the dead bird to them to play with.
After it had been properly examined, Brioni integrated the dead bird into pretend-play. She became a farmer, and the bird was an eagle that helped keep pests off her farm.
I could hear her talking softly to her feathered friend, arranging it in the positions of flight or repose. She played with it for about an hour, long after Aisha had moved onto other games.
And then, when she was finished, Brioni dropped her bird into the wheely bin, which was what David had instructed her to do when she was finished with it. There was no remorse, no sadness, just a simple disposal of something that no longer served a purpose.
Brioni came inside, washed her hands carefully and later spoke about the bird with authority and intimacy. For a brief moment it had been part of her world, and now it was gone. The fact that it was dead the whole time was almost irrelevant.