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Can Birds Drown in Snow?

Google dodged the question. It only answered with descriptions of snow-covered gardens and burrowing for seeds. At the end it added a cautionary tale about birdbaths.

Who can I ask? Where can I go? Can birds drown in snow?

Except, I know my question was valid. It mattered. My heart whirred remembering the spinning wings that lifted the bird’s tiny body only to be deceived again by the thick layer of white. The bird couldn’t stand on the too thick, not thick enough substance, and it was too high in which to stand. Such deception. Such disappointment.

Should I try again? Should I be still? Can birds drown in snow?

I dug half blind with one gloved hand underneath the clumps of snow just below the perceived body. The bird would lift and then fall. As it tired, I could carry it further, but I had no real destination. The dog darted at the excitement creating added distraction and stress. When the bird barely moved except for rapid breaths I was able to slide several steps before losing the creature again just in front of the garage door.

Where is help coming from? Is it safe? Can birds drown in snow?

I could no longer see the bird. I surrendered to my circumstances and hope tied together by the dog’s leash. I took the dog inside. I returned, each step across the yard a search for a new place the bird could settle to regain strength. I dipped my head, strained my eyes, but could not see the bird’s body. Still, the garage door crack was more significant than I first believed. It must have gone underneath. Huddle inside. I cringed when my dad backed out in his car, but later still found no body. This time, I surrendered to my own inadequacy, and. . . hope.

What do I want? To keep trying? To stop?

It’s March. I shouldn’t have to ask the question.

It’s March. The snow can be, but shouldn’t be, here.

It’s not quite spring. The bird could be, but shouldn’t be, here.

The bird’s body never reappeared, but I feel its presence. The fast, rapid puff of panic lingers with my question. The bird ran out of energy. . .of hope. . . Is there a difference?

Can birds drown in snow?

The clean white expanse is a metaphor, only an illusion, of solid ground upon which to land. It soon stains itself from above and underneath. Footprints cluster muddied, then disappear. The next week it rains. The snow is gone. The question(s) remain(s).


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