Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Child-Mother of all Things

I know that I wanted to be a mother, to care for others, from when I was a child. My dream was to be a nurse when I would grow up. Perhaps this came about when my little brother spent some time in hospital and I would faithfully sit vigil at his side and comfort the little motherless ones who were crying next door. Another time I found a featherless, naked little sparrow, barely alive, on the playground. My heart leapt with compassion and I took it home in a cardboard box. I made a nest for the little birdie, and diligently fed it mushed up bready milk and water. It was a miracle, the little one grew fluffy and shiny and it developed into a cheerful little feathery ball. Our favourate game was to throw it from the balcony up into the sky and it would fly a little round and come back to us. Off we sent it again, every time with a little tingle of sad anticipation as it might fly away for good, but again and again it came back, eagerly awaiting another round of exploratory flight. It wasn’t really a real sparrow, most of the time it hopped around on the ground. Sadly, this was going to be it’s downfall, as one day my father stepped backwards, not realising that the sparrow was behind him, and thus squashed it to death. He was distraught, and it must have been very difficult for him to break the news to us. I felt more sad for my father’s torment than for the birdies demise and so we proceeded, as matter of fact as children can be, to create another kind of nest for the little sparrow; a little burial ground at the entrance to our house.

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