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Nov 2018
I woke up

Looked outside the window

Took a deep breath as I listened to the enchanting sounds of birds and nature

All of a sudden I heard a thud on the window and there was a little bird likely a thrush
Saw her upside down on the ground, wings flapping, struggling to get up
When I picked her up she fit snugly into the palm of my hand
Her narrow beak, like tiny scissors, was moving, as if trying to say something as she lay on her side
Her eye looked up at me

I hoped the bird was just stunned and that after some rest it would lift up and fly from my hand
Did she know I meant her no harm?
Her legs twitched, but her head lay limply on the cushion of my hand
Her soft stomach pulsed against my palm with each slow effort of breath

She was beautiful: light brown wing feathers streaked with blue, her tawny white and brown underbelly, a dapple of light blue feathering beneath each perfect eye
I sat on the deck in the morning sun, bird in hand, for perhaps five minutes while she gently struggled to rise

As the bird lay there, eye watching me, beak opening and closing, I spoke to her
I told her how beautiful she was
I gently stroked her feathered back
I said she was safe in my hand
Though this was not quite true are we ever really safe from death?

I tried to will her to fly away

I had been rushing to get ready for the day when I heard her hit the window
Now, time seemed to matter less She, too, had perhaps been rushing when she hit the window, the unseen instrument of her death
One minute you are flying, free and alive…then what you cannot see upends you
We mark time constantly in our days to reassure ourselves that we control our destiny, until, in an instant, we are out of time βŒ›οΈ

I couldn’t help it but tears ran down my cheek as I listened to the sound of my voice say

Get up, little bird, please. Fly away.

     Then her eyes closed. Her beak opened in a final silent call, then shut. Then her breathing stopped.

The Quiet Presence of Death
Value life
Kenlum Michaelson
Written by
Kenlum Michaelson  23/M/Port Elizabeth/ SA
(23/M/Port Elizabeth/ SA)   
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