falling off the edgeless earth

coming to terms with life improvisation

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The Birds
Snow still covers most of the ground, though it has melted and refrozen into something more like crumbled ice covered by a crunchy crust. It still looks nice from afar. I love the stark colors of winter days--the white and grey of the landscape and the black and brown of bare, dormant trees against the bright blue sky.

As I turned onto the main road of our neighborhood yesterday, I spotted a large, black shape in the middle of the street. I made out the shape of a bird, black feathers, black beak but something seemed odd. Too large, way too large for a crow.

I drove closer. I saw the bird pecking on something in the middle of the street. I remembered seeing a badly mangled corpse of a small animal, probably a squirrel, at that spot in the street earlier. A flattened splotch red lined with grey fur. The bird now stood astride this small shape, pecking methodically. As I drove closer, the bird stopped feeding and looked up slightly, but continued to stand there.

Creeping along with my car, I neared to within twenty of feet. Finally, the bird spread its black wings. Slowly, it flew up and made a small circle above the street into a Japanese Maple by the side of the street. I craned my neck to look as I drove past. The bird and another companion sat in the tree. Behind them, the low afternoon sun glanced off the ice of nearby rooftops. The light filled the the speckled weather-stains on my car's window, covering the scene with a hazy, amber glow. I could only make out the the vague outlines of the two. Unmoving, patient, they waited for me to pass. As I rounded the bend in the road, and glanced back again in the mirror one last time, but the pair and the barren tree had already disappeared from view.


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