a tiny winged soul

house sparrows

little house sparrow

they are the common folk of bird land.


maybe they’re not brightly colored.

maybe their chirruping is not the most melodious.

maybe they can be a nuisance if you park under a tree where they reside.

but lo!

they have ALWAYS been a favorite of mine!  my whole life i have loved them!


they are full of cheer and spunk and a cheeky joy that just makes my day.


maybe i should have named my tiny apartment  ‘ the sparrow house ‘

instead of the wren house.  just to honor them because i love them so.


there is a stillness in here now.  finally.

it’s a deafening stillness this is.


oh . . .  the big window is open.  the air unseasonably cool.

the outside bird sounds and traffic up on the distant highway can easily be heard.


the stillness in here is deafening to me.

it’s deafening because of what is now missing.


four days ago . . .

i began hearing a scrambling sound in my fireplace.

the flue is metal and the fireplace has a stone surround.

the damper was closed.  i haven’t used this fireplace in the entire four years here.

and i never intend to.

they do no maintenance or checking of them here and that to me spells warning.


the scrambling sound was unmistakable.

a little bird was trapped.


for four days and sometimes even in the night i have heard that frantic tiny being

trying . . . trying . . . and then a silent exhaustion . . . and then trying again.


the maintenance men thought it was between the stone wall and the flue.

i never did.

i KNEW it was in the flue.  i have been hearing it for too long to not know it.

there was nothing MUFFLED about that horrible trapped frantic scrambling.


i put a small lamp in the opening . . . to light its way down to the open damper.

thinking if it came into my room i would open both french doors and it could

easily escape.  i put down a glass pie plate with water.  hoping it could smell or

sense the life giving liquid.


i talked gently to it.  it seemed to grow to know my voice.  at first it would go

totally silent when i approached the fireplace opening.  then it got used to me

i guess.  because it still tried to scramble out . . . even with me there.


it lasted far longer than i ever thought possible.

last night i lie in bed sobbing right out loud like a small child.

i know.  i know.

it’s not like my mother or bob or even my little zeke . . .

all that very real suffering and long drawn out months on end of the dying

from cancer.  after all they were human.  and so important in my life.

this was simply one tiny bird.


i know.  i know.

with all the REALLY SERIOUS problems on this earth right now . . .


i was crying my heart out over this one tiny winged soul.


i have always had an affinity for all living things.

i can’t explain it.  i just have.  from the time i was a little child.

it’s as if they’re PART of me.  who i am.  it’s too sensitive i know.  but it just


when i was young it was there and i would try to hide it because most adults

think you’re silly to go on about things like that.  they think you need

“toughening up.”

so i would suffer in silence.


and yes.  i also literally HUG trees!  i always have.  i always will.

i never even knew it was a political label until i was fully grown.

and for some reason it’s a rather derogative label at that.

i don’t understand why everything political has to be so hateful and cruel really.


but i digress.


last night.

in my sobbing i cry out to the universe.

 “YOU KNOW you could free that little being!  I KNOW and YOU KNOW!


even if it dies.  just do SOMETHING!

i can no longer stand to hear its suffering!”


way before daylight i was awakened by a loud metal scrambling sound.

one last vital effort?

i had slept hardly at all throughout the night. . .  my drowsy eyes closed.

and soon i was fast asleep.


come daylight and i got a call from my dearest friend celia in the city.

she asked how i was.  she knows me and knows that this was taking a toll.


we talked.  i hung up.

i went over to the fire place opening.

there . . .  a large mound of black soot.  where it had been swept clean before.


not one scrape.  not one rustle.


all morning . . .  all day up until now . . .  i have been waiting . . .

listening to see if i heard the tiniest sound coming from that chamber of death.

nothing.  NOTHING!


i want to think this

and so I SHALL.  regardless.  i shall think what i want to think.


i think i was heard.

i think that the tiny winged soul found its way out with strength from the



and i think the mound of jet black soot is a sign left for me that it did.

it’s what i want to believe and so i will.


and that is the story of a tiny winged soul.


til soon old bean.

til soon.


  1. Linda Sand

    Of course it got safely out. When it stopped fluttering and grabbed onto the side of the flu it discovered it could climb out. And that pile of soot is what it knocked off on its way up.

  2. oh Tammy,, I feel your pain, it makes us feel so helpless doesn’t it,,
    thank fully its free to fly again,,

    I’m sending you a big hug,

  3. I’m so glad I have a friend who cares so much about these little ones. R.H. is another one.

    “His eye is on the sparrow…” Did you ever read Ethel Waters’ autobiography by that name? And I remember crying long ago when I saw her sing it at a Billy Graham crusade. Never will forget it.

    • tammy j

      I know he is.
      just look at him with his “girls” 🙂
      he will miss them.
      and I know that song. it’s one of my favorites.
      I don’t think I ever heard her sing it though.
      it’s beautiful.
      i’m so happy it ended the way it did. you must be sure and tell RH!

  4. hugs…

    I finally got my landlord to cap the chimneys – I have had no further drafts or other noises – other than rain on the tin caps he used…

    • tammy j

      I would love that sound of rain on the caps!
      I just left a comment on your latest post. it said servers problem!
      I wanted to tell you that …
      I LIKE it that it’s small. small and exquisite. to me it’s more magical that way.
      don’t feel down on it! I think it’s beautiful. who wants HUGE and OVERDONE?
      and then I read on monk’s site where the snails ate the hearts!!! LOL! oh my gosh.
      we never know …
      hugs returned dear bean. XOXO♥

  5. Poor baby (you AND the sparrow). But being the logical person that I am, I do have to say that most likely it escaped. Not just because of the soot, which is a clear sign it climbed its way out, but the silence. What are the odds otherwise? If it died wouldn’t it have fell to the bottom since the flue was open and you would then see it?


    • tammy j

      that’s why I KNOW it escaped!
      I’m just so glad I can’t hardly stand it.
      the first day I’ve enjoyed here in almost a week.
      thank you darling bean! XO♥

  6. I’m sorry you and the bird had to suffer for so long, but I agree, it must have finally made its way out. Life can be heartbreaking at times.

    • tammy j

      it did seem endless monk.
      mainly because I felt so helpless.
      but it had a happy ending! xoxo♥

  7. I agree with Doreen and Jean.
    It’s little body would have dropped down with the soot, so it made it’s way out!
    But…. I know exactly how you feel.
    I still feel so so sad about that baby deer that was killed in the street. it really broke my heart.
    I was depressed for days over that little lost life.
    I found a dead rabbit about a month ago in my yard and I felt so upset, because there had been a little rabbit that was always hopping around and lived under my porch. It just made me happy to see it and then to see it dead. It just tore at my heart.
    Funny that you should mention being sensitive and politics because it reminds me of a bumper sticker that I saw and I should have bought (but I don’t want a bumper sticker on my car. LOL!)
    But this is what it said –
    “Better a Bleeding Heart, than NO HEART at all”

    • tammy j

      and I remember that darling little dear. the pictures you took of it.
      the most innocent of lives.
      it just hurts.
      i’m so glad my little bird got away! I will sleep well tonight for the first time in almost a week.
      nothing can live very long without water. food maybe. but water…
      i’m just so very glad it ended like it has. XOXO♥ i’m enjoying YOU enjoying your vacation! LOLOL!

  8. A beautiful story so well told!

    We have sparrows here too but they are dwindling in population. I have blogged about the phenomenon some years ago.

    We still get them in the garden but I have stopped feeding them birdseed as the cats wait to grab an unsuspecting one!

    • tammy j

      thank you my rummy.
      i’m just so grateful it had a happy ending!!!
      and YES!
      i can see why you wouldn’t want to provide living bait food for kitties! LOL!

  9. It had to have gotten free – either way – in its’ little spirit or physically. I can so relate to your sensitivity to nature’s little ones. I’m the same way. I also love house sparrows. I find the males bold and beautiful and the females pretty in pastel browns, rusts. I wish I had them here but they usually hang around the store and MacDonalds in town. I love that u feel so deeply toward all living beings.

  10. Oh, that poor little bird, caught in the fireplace flue… 🙁 I’d be crying too… another soul, and especially a soul in distress, hard not to cry and be sad over that. I’m one of those too-senstive type too… so I understand. I love hugging trees too… wee-hoo… I like to hope little winged soul found his/her way out. There is HOPE in that. 🙂 ((LOVE & BIG HUGS))

    • tammy j

      it did find its way out darling girl of the north! it did!
      there would be the smell of death by now and there is none.
      and it was fair to breaking my heart. but it ended well. she’s free.
      I expect she was checking it out to build a nest and fell somehow.
      I went to the office yesterday and insisted that they fix the chimney top
      so it never happens again! XOXO♥

  11. Yes, it sounds like it managed to get out somehow. I can well understand how distraught you must have been as you heard it helplessly scrabbling around. Why should you have to “toughen up” and ignore such distress, even if it’s just a small bird? Good for you retaining that sensitivity.

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