Thursday, January 20, 2005


A small subfusc thing that darts into the blackberries. Barely seen, just in the corner of my eye. It's under no illusions about its importance or its mortality. I don't know its name (don't tell me; I don't want to know.) I only know that our slender connection is, that I alarmed it.

Dull, drab brown. It's not an ornament. It has no name. It's nothing but a life. A tiny heart beating a drum-roll under that gleamless down; a flood of speculations running through a skull hardly thicker than its own eggshells. To think fast enough to fly through a blackberry thicket at top speed, is to think much faster than I can.

I don't think it's what we call panic. No creature could live with that much panic, even in such a short life. Maybe there's a lift to it, a small exaltation, the same we feel any time when we are doing exactly what we're suited for. Fleeing through the bramble-stems, brushing past the green leaves. flying toward that sudden stillness, that abrupt stop, that transformation from flight to hiding. In the dim shade, its heart drums silently.

O human being, it thinks. Enormous slow clumsy human being, what would you ever do if you needed to hide!

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