Magpies strut, did you know? They carry themselves with the arrogance of the snottiest aristocrat, prancing about as though the very ground beneath their feet was laid down with the sole purpose of them one day gracing it with their presence.

Crows, by contrast, stride across the landscape with an air of confidence. The inventors of the bird world, they are no less convinced of their superiority, but more subtle in their expression of it, as though they are so far above us that we aren’t even worthy of their disdain.

Brown Warblers are curious balls of energy, flitting about like sugared up toddlers, always moving, never still, as though some amazing new discovery lies just beyond the next twig, or the next, or the one after that.

I never used to understand birdwatchers, people who could sit for hours, silent, stalking their prey not to harm or to help, but to capture a few precious seconds of observation. I would rather spend my time staring at a screen or reading a good book. The opening riffs of a new song was far more enthralling than the song of the currawong.

I still spend my time staring at a screen. The last Kookaburra didn’t strut. It didn’t stride. It didn’t flit. It just sat in its cage, staring at the camera with empty, accusing eyes, like the eyes of a child who has seen too much war. It still breathed, but its soul had already departed. The image is looped, repeating the same precious seconds for an eternity of observation.

Watching is no longer entertainment, a way to pass the time. It is an atonement, a fusion of pleasure and pain, nostalgia jumbled with bitterness, pity tangled with regret. It is a legacy of guilt.

Categories: Fiction Friday

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