The Fragility of Life

October 25, 2007
By
Milky eyes gazed skyward, a small beak chattered futilely. No amount of chirping would give it the joy of its swooping and soaring nest-mates. No amount of rest or food would either, even if its mother insisted just this. The youngest of the clutch, a late hatcher. Her nest-mates had pushed her from the nest, a broken wing as a seemingly kind human returned her to the nest, but it didn't matter. With a broken wing she was better dead. These thoughts, in simplified terms, crossed the small chick's fragile mind as the mother ducked into a tidy landing. She held lunch in her beak, a squirming pulsating sack of flesh. Slimy and juicy, good. Pleasing as the meal was, it did nothing to warm the chill in her gullet.
She knew she would never fly with her nest-mates. That sick torment of watching her nest-mates with their screeches of joy was too much. The torture of knowing she could never live without her mother's kind attendance, and soon, as the nest nesting season rolled around, her mother would look for another mate, a new clutch, she would be abandoned.
With a finality to these thoughts the chick waited for the mother to leave the nest. Once the smooth feathered guardian left she stood slowly, injured wing dragging limply behind her, with a click of her beak and a gaze skyward she stepped to the edge of the woody branch. Just a short fall and it would be over, the black crushing of oblivion, her small heart would cease beating. Done, finished. She stepped forward, leaned slightly. Now, falling, air ruffling her feathers.

Too late she realized how final this decision was, too late, far too late. The ground rushed up at her, eyes closed she opened her wings feebly, catching air. Yes! Flight! Finally! The thoughts the joy, the triumphant twitter from her beak.

Sadly, in reality, the ground was still rushing up towards the chick. The triumphant thoughts of a failing mind, the last joy life brings as death comes.

A passing fox caught the chick before the ground could crush her frail bones, with the cruelty of that single gulp.
A life so easily snuffed out.

There's an irony to it.





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