What gave me the idea for this illustration was last week’s Illustration Friday prompt, which was “Save”. I quickly realized I wasn’t going to finish on time, but then when this week’s prompt was revealed I realized it was all part of the same story.
One day I was walking along a footpath lined with trees when I found a small baby bird in distress. I was barely eight years old, but understood that it must have fallen out of it’s nest. I gently picked up the little bird and ran back to my father’s place, eager to show him my finding and start taking care of it myself. Since we didn’t have a cage to put him in, we decided to keep the windows and doors shut so the bird wouldn’t escape before it was strong enough. In the meantime, it could practice flying in the apartment.
I told three or four friends about ‘my’ bird, and they were eager to see it. After I’d shown it to them we all gathered around the couch and started playing games. When I noticed the bird wasn’t making any sound, I got worried, so we started looking for him everywhere. I was suspicious that someone had let him out, but then I noticed that the large piece of cloth which covered the couch bunched up on the floor. That was the one place we hadn’t looked yet. I’ll never forget the terror that gripped me when I realized the bird must have made it’s way under there as we trampled around all over the place. And sure enough, when I lifted the fabric, there he was… dead.
So there you have it. My intention was to save the bird, but because of my lack of attention, I failed to do so. There were other such small animals who met an untimely death under my care, but this bird (and another little creature I may or may not bring up in another story) have always stayed with me for some reason, even though they would have both have naturally expired close to thirty years ago now. I wanted to make sure the bird I drew was a decent approximation of the one in the story, and looking up small birds living in Israel found this lovely Olive-Backed Pipit, though of course the baby bird I found was smaller still than that. May he (or she) rest in peace.
Illustration by Smiler