Made by Humans: The Devil’s Rope

TreeCreeper nr Cissbury Rings IMG_5643

“Between two hills, two villages, two trees, two friends/The barbed wire runs which neither argues nor explains”. W.H. Auden.

On a walk to Cissbury Rings on the Downs.

At first I thought it was already dead (to my shame I filmed it, buffeted by the wind), spiked by the knotted barb. When I took it down I found it was still living, weak but warm and its heart still beating. Mad, it seems now, but I started to walk back to town holding it in cupped hands, as though, after a two hour walk I’d find a friendly animal rescue place . . . It died in my hand a short while later.

Even then — is this what death does to you? — when it momentarily started to flutter I thought it must have healed, wanted to be off, free, but, no, it was in its death throes. Something was free, but not the body. I walked up on to Cissbury, I didn’t want to leave it, I was still talking to it, as it got cold and stiff. I laid it down under a gorse copse, at the highest level of the hill. It had been tree creeper.

I didn’t take a photograph.



2 thoughts on “Made by Humans: The Devil’s Rope

  1. It’s sad that the bird died, but I know they feel and to have warmth at the end, was special. No one can tell me that it is just in their nature the breed and survive. They feel like any human does and mourn when they have loss. I’ve seen if first hand in my own backyard. My husband cut down a branch that had a Dove nest in it. He had looked and didn’t see a next, otherwise he wouldn’t have cut it down. There were 2 chicks in the nest. Him and my grand-daughter took it to the animal hospital that accepts hurt or displaced wild birds. The parent, stayed on the branch above where the nest was for 4 days crying for her babies. She finally flew the 5th day. You did a good thing!


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