All I found was a tiny bird's head.
|I found a tiny birds head, and part of one wing, and a few stray feathers, on my doorstep yesterday morning. I found them as I left for work – another rain-less day, so I was walking and reasonably happy. At least I wasn’t sad, and I wasn’t nothing, so I must have been happy. It’s so hard to tell.
It was a Monday, the start of the workweek. I am always happy to be going back to work after the weekend. All that unfilled time scares me; I never know what to do with myself. Sometimes I try to look out the window, across the river, into the factory yard with its smoke, and think. But I get lost, and end up wondering all sorts of nonsense like perhaps I could transfer to there, where they work weekends, and then I wouldn’t have so much empty time. But I know they’d never transfer me for that reason. And besides, changes like that are so upsetting, routines I’ve been in for years all different, the walk to work, what I wear, lunchtime schedules – all just too much. I’m far better off staying where I am. I mean, I must have been assigned there for a reason. I suppose I’m good with figures or something.
Anyway, there was this tiny birds head on the mat when I stepped out yesterday morning. Just lying there, absolutely lifeless. I bent down and picked it up by its tiny black beak and looked at it. Dark feathers, almost black, absolutely the smallest things I think I’ve ever seen, with a startling yellow blaze on the top of the head. I wondered in astonishment how the feathers had known who was to be black and who yellow, and where they would all go. Surely it was beyond my understanding. Nature does that to me, befuddles me, so I usually leave it alone. But that little part of a creature, one I had never held or even seen so close up, and now a tiny part of it in my hand – well, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
The little black eyes were dull now. Once I suppose they were bright and lively, flicking around, struggling to make sense of what they saw. They tell us such creatures are like that, constantly lost and confused, with no memory or any way to put anything together into a string. Looking at that tiny bird’s head, so finely detailed and perfect, I wasn’t sure. But then, if it was so perfect, how had it ended up on my doormat without the rest of itself. I gathered up the feathers and tossed them and the head into the trash, a little sadly, I guess. It seemed a shame to leave them there on the mat, but I didn’t know what else I could have done with them.
But so be it, and I didn’t want to be late again. Too many times and they begin to ask questions. Not directly, but they do. By the time I was halfway there, I had forgotten all about the bird’s head, and only just now remembered it.