The Season of Death

What's the best part about waking up to take out the dog when it's pitch black at 5:30 AM? Outstanding stargazing. Yesterday morning was exceptionally clear. I could see much more than usual, and I even spotted a shooting star! Yet another reason that I love living in the country.
I made another discovery in the afternoon that wasn't quite as delightful: a dead, dried-up toad, and a Cedar Waxwing with its guts squashed out in our driveway. On top of that, we've been trapping mice in the house and the last victim was caught by its paws in a neck-snapper. It left a bloody circle while it dragged the trap around trying to escape and ultimately I let it go in the yard instead of killing it. Give it a few minutes of freedom before it is snatched up by a hawk or dies from limb-smashing-induced blood loss.
Natalie is getting an education in the cycle of life. She was very interested in the dead bird and wanted to "see, see" while I picked it up with a shovel and dropped it into our compost pile. While I dumped some weeds on top of the body, she asked, "oh, you cover up? Bird go sleep?"
"Yes, Natalie," I said. "Being dead is kind of like sleep, but the bird will never wake up." I scraped the goo off the shovel blade and watched the gears turning in her head. "Do you understand?"
"Let's go," she said. We went inside and I showed her a video of what the Cedar Waxwing looks like when it's still alive. "That's so silly!" she giggled, and demanded to watch it again. Then she got bored with the video and went back to playing with her new kitchen. Check it out, didn't my wife do a great job?

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