Today, 28th december 2013, from now on will always be known as ‘the day of the buzzard.’
Such a wet and miserable day – a day for knitting by the fire or baking cakes, writing snail mail letters or phoning friends – that sort of day, indeed, but there was a parcel to post and a bill to pay – in rural France we still write cheques and post them!
I drove the four km to the village, and after all the pleasantries in the Post Office, walked back to the car, stopping at the boulangerie for a fresh loaf .The saturday market in the little square was doing its best to be cheerful with Christmas music and some fresh fruit and vegetables. It seems to be getting smaller every year…but thats another story.
On the way back up the hill a buzzard flew low down out of the bushes on the side of the road and although I wasn’t going quickly and I braked sharply – I still hit it. When I got out of the car I could see it was still alive. On its back in the road, perfectly still, except for its chest moving.
Wrapping it carefully in a cloth I put the poor creature in the car. It made no attempt to move. I felt dreadful – such a beautiful specimen and I had probably killed it.
Back at the cottage we left it in a box and closed it in the empty garage, out of the rain and safe from all the feral cats that rule the farmyard at the bottom of the lane.
Just over an hour later, and having found a phone number for a society dealing with injured birds, we were surprised and inordinately happy when we opened the door and it flew away.
Perhaps it was just concussed, a bit bruised and battered maybe, and I am so glad I just didn’t leave it there in the road thinking I had killed it.
So, I can hear it now, in a few years time ‘was that he Christmas you hit the buzzard?’ or equally:
‘Don’t you remember? That was the year you hit the buzzard – when would that have been? 2013 maybe?’