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Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Common Brown Breasted Tip-A-Worry Finch

There was a call in the trees

And an answering call from inside the stone home nearby

A grey brown bird hopped from branch to black barked branch
Yellow orange scaled feet gripping and releasing in rhythm to the movement

A young boy with bronze skin and black hair appeared in the second story window of the home
Resting his hands upon the stone sill
Hands feeling the warmth of the sun still high overhead

Yellowed grey brown bird eyes met golden eyed bronze skinned boy's
And the bird ceased his hopping and spread broad wings
Falling forward into the air for a short glide to the same second story window the boy was at
Alighting a little heavily and cocking its head as it asked

The boy laughed with a flash of teeth before asserting

Retreating into the home and climbing down a wooden ladder to the main floor
The boy chatted with his mother
Telling her how the bird was back again after being elsewhere for the winter months
Expressing suprise that the bird still remembered the words the boy had taught him last year

Returning up the thick wooden rungs carrying a small dish in one hand
Boy met with bird at the window and told the bird

Who received this new bit of news eagerly
Attempting to lunge at the bowl with black tipped red beak half open uttering

With a chiding 'tsk tsk' sound the boy held the bowl away from the bird
Instead reaching into it with three fingers to grasp a few of the crushed morsels of grain
Offering them to the bird in an open palm

That beak moved almost too fast to see
Stopping a hair's breadth away from puncturing the skin
The skills of the hungry bird could not be denied
For no food would be forthcoming should there be an injury
With the boy putting one in his own mouth from time to time as well
Chewing thoughtfully as he watched the bird eat

This was same daily routine which had been established the previous year
Now resumed without any admission of time past
Punctuated by a call in the form of a question or exclamation from one or the other of them
"Twipperwoolree!" or "Twipperwoolree?"

Always with the same answer

There wasn't much variety to their shared language
But they managed

These days stretched into months
And the months into years
Broken up only by the changing of the seasons
And the bird travelling for the coldest of the months far away from the boy
Who was now more of a man

At some point the grown up boy realized that the bird was not the same bird he had taught to speak when he was small
The grey brown was a little more brown than grey
And the black tipped beak had a tiny yellow streak on one side
Though the intelligent yellow eyes still danced whenever they interacted
With insistent calls of

So the bronze skinned man with the black hair that had a tiny bit of white in it now
Answered as he always has

Time runs and rolls downhill like water from a spring upon a mountainside
Past rock homes and bronze skinned black haired men and boys
And all around grey brown birds with black tipped red beaks which gleefully called out

Until one day the sun rises upon a new spring day
Warming the same stones that used to line a certain windowsill
Though now they are part of a pile of rocks barely protruding from the undergrowth of the forest that has grown all around

There are still bronze skinned boys and girls, men and women
They no longer live in stone homes for the most part
Nor do any of them answer when any one of thousands of grey brown birds calls out
As they so often do
To the point that those birds have become known by that call they make

The call that was taught to that one bird so long ago
In a language that is no longer known
Which was taught to that bird's chicks
Who taught it to their chicks
Until all the grey brown birds with black tipped red beaks and yellow eyes called out
"Twipperwoolree!" to one another
No one bird ever wondering what it meant
Nor any boy, girl, man, or woman thinking there was any meaning to it either

A simple call of trust and friendship
To share a handful of crushed grain