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Last week, on Sunday, very early in the morning, a pair of magpies were loudly squawking in our backyard. They must have had a nest in the neighbour’s tree for, when I looked out the window, there were a couple of baby magpies hopping around in our backyard. The babies could not yet fly very far. They would flap their wings and make it a couple of feet up to a branch on our hedge. We kept an eye on them from the windows.

Ed and I mostly stayed out of the backyard to give the little ones a chance to learn how to fly, which also meant the grass didn’t get it’s much needed cutting. On Tuesday, Ed found one of them in the middle of the road in front of our house and managed to guide it back to the lawn.

3 baby magpiesEarlier that day, I watched one of the little ones who made it up to the roof of the house across the street and was pacing up and down on the edge of the roof seemingly to get the courage to fly off the roof. At one point, one of the parent birds landed beside the baby magpie, flapped its wings then flew off to a nearby tree where it chirped at the little guy to encourage it to follow. It finally did after about 15 more minutes of pacing.

Wednesday morning, events took a more dramatic turn. As I was making coffee, I heard loud magpie squawking in the backyard. When I went out to check, one of the little birds had falling into the pond in our backyard. Ed had been draining it to clean it and there was still about 3 inches of water in the bottom of it. The little guy was flapping wildly, but didn’t have the strength to fly out.

I was able to get hold of him and brought him out of the water and laid him gently on the grass. He was very weak. Both parent birds were making very loud noises at me, thankfully they were not swooping at me. I left the little bird on the grass and returned inside. As I started to get breakfast ready, I started a flow of reiki to the little bird. For over 2 hours he did not move. Even when one of the parent birds tried to nudge him. We kept an eye on him through the windows.

His siblings also kept an eye on him. There were three little baby magpies perched on the back of our bench in the backyard near where the little bird lie in the grass. They stayed there the whole time watching over their sibling.

As little bird began to dry off more, one of his siblings hopped over to nudge him and he moved a wing in response. By lunchtime, he was huddled in the grass a few feet away at the bottom of the bench in the backyard. The picture is of him starting to hop around on the grass.

Well, we were in for even more drama. The silly little bird hopped right over to the pond again and fell right in to the water. This time Ed fished him out and he hopped over to the bushes to hide. Ed immediately drained as much of the remaining water out of the pond as he could until there was about an inch left in the bottom.

I had an appointment that afternoon and was gone for about 3 hours. When I returned, I asked about the little magpie. Ed said he had checked the pond about half an hour before that and hadn’t seen the little magpie in the pond or near it. So I went out to check and there he was drowned in the inch of water in the bottom of the pond.

I am so sad that this little guy lost his physical life in our backyard, especially after being rescued twice. He received blessings and prayers for his transition.

As I write this story, I sit in the backyard watching one of the little magpie siblings splash around in the birdbath. This week’s experience has sparked a deep contemplation of the nature of life and death.

As they say, “None of us get out of this life alive.”

In 2015, Ed and I ended an eight-year journey of end of life care, first for his mom, then his dad, then my sister. One right after the other.

With each of them there was contemplation and conversation around these questions:

  • What have I done with my life that gives it meaning?
  • What did I do that made a contribution to others?
  • Did I do enough? (This question came from Ed’s Dad who had a deep belief that he was not enough. And he carried this to his last day.)

I could go on with more questions, but I think you get the line of thought.

I believe that every single one of us has deep intrinsic value. Just for being a human being.

Yet part of what makes us feel valuable is to provide a valuable service to others. And so we ask these questions of ourselves at the end of our journey here.

Especially – What did I do that made a contribution to others?

And the circle of life flows…