Gathering

July 11, 2016 § Leave a comment

As we pulled together our day’s earnings, we began to hear more thunder in the distance. Hastily, mother motioned for us to come close to her, darting her black eyes around the ground for any last berries we missed. I adjusted as to be able to fit a few more twigs in my beak, and took my place in line. Out of the four of us, including mother, I was number three. Claws clenched and mouths full, we began the flight to our perch, just on the other side of the field. Julia, the youngest, was flying behind me, and I could hear that she was getting tired. This was the first time she’d come out with us to gather berries and seeds. For the longest time, mother alone had gone to find our food— but something had changed, and now, we all went together. Now, we did most things together.

   Suddenly, I heard something drop. I shot out of the line and spun around. As I’d feared, Julia was no longer behind me. I swooped down to a tall blade of grass to get a better look. In this moment, I regretted her being born female, because she would be more difficult to find. She didn’t have the bright yellow breast Len and I had, which had always come in handy when one of us had wondered off and gotten ourselves lost. Her brown and grey feathers now matched the ground, for the grass and leaves had begun to change their colors. I dropped to the ground to unload my beak of the seeds and twigs I was holding, and called to Len and Mother. It had begun to sprinkle now, and the thunder was louder than it had been before, so they continued to fly, not hearing my call, up to the tree we would nest in until the storm passed.

   Finally, I heard something behind me. A small flute began to sing a tired song, and I recognized it’s voice as belonging to Julia. I hopped through the tall, damp grass, following her voice towards where she lay. Berries all around her, and she on her side, Julia was a picture of weariness. I gathered her seeds and berries, and went to grab my own. She had fallen on her left wing in the drop, and was in pain. In the distance, I heard mother’s voice. Dropping the berries once more, I flew up and out of the grass, flying back and forth and bearing my yellow chest as a signal for her attention. She sent Len out to us in the middle of the field, with a portion of what looked to be the nest we were building.

   He coasted down to Julia, and placed the woven formation of twigs beside her. We both helped steady her on it, and quickly began nipping around the ground for our food. The rain was now heavy, and our feathers were getting quite wet. Len advised me to take one side of the mat of twigs and, gripping it with our claws, we became synchronized in our pattern for flight. I quickly realized that we would have to fly sideways, somehow. Our mother’s voice in the wind made it somewhat easier to direct us through the air, grey with rain. We fluttered vigorously, flying an exhaustingly crooked path to the perch. We did, however, arrive at last.

   The mat, along with what twigs and grass were mine and Julia’s, was quickly inserted back into the wall of the nest. Lightning struck the Tanglewood tree in the center of the field, and a branch fell off into what was normally our nesting ground. Berries stashed away, seeds in front of us, and our nest strong and warm around us, we watched the the field. The rain was dancing with the wind, and we were all four together.

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