This evening, walking through the gathering darkness on my way home from work, I noticed an unmoving spot of vibrancy on the verge of the footpath. I stopped and looked, and there immobile was a dead rainbow lorikeet. Not long dead, I think – but its eyes were dull, and the spark of life, the anima, the soul, was missing.
Lorikeets are bright. Anyone who has ever seen one will remember the depth of colour, the dense purity of the blues and greens and yellows and reds of its feathers. They are bright in spirit, too – loud and cheeky and clever and utterly alive.
And yet, this one wasn’t. In the absence of that which animated it, the little creature was merely a shadow of what, not so long ago, it once was. Even the colours were fading, as though they’d been too long in the sun. And its soul, its small bright spirit, had gone – returned to its Source, like a single drop returned to its ocean.
I found a small stem of delicate white flowers on a green bush growing near one of the car dealerships which line my route home. I broke the stem off, and – without really knowing why I was doing it, but understanding the importance of the action – laid it on the fading breast of the bird. I wished the vigorous little spirit Godspeed, and then I went on my way.