The early morning air was cool, but not uncomfortable, as Annika strolled through the unstructured wilds of Quaoar. Little insects leapt and glided away from the thin grasses underfoot, chittering softly in their rhythmic, stuttering way as she passed. The long, slender amphibians croaked and gurgled from the rocks along the edges of ponds where fishes sliced along the surface.
But there were no birds.
The birds never survived the transmigrations. Not a single one. Not a peacock, or a barn swallow, or a penguin, or a turkey, or a blue jay. Not in free transit, or cryonic transport, or lab-fertilized on any of the hundred New Worlds. Not a hawk or a dove. Not an owl, or a flamingo, or a heron, or a hummingbird, or an emu. There were bats, but that was hardly the same. Annika walked and sighed and tried to recall every type of bird there’d been. Cranes, and parrots, and starlings, and parakeets, and finches…
What they now called The Accident would later be called The Unlocking in a distant, less sentimental time. The laws of physics unfurled before us like a rare flower abloom. The universe became our sandbox. The sun; modified, and eternal. The Kuiper Belt; inhabitable. The Earth; lost. And inexplicably, with it, the birds.
Many other things were lost too: some known, some not; infinities both countable and uncountable; tangible and ephemeral. But for Annika, like most, it was easier to focus only on the birds. A collective symbol of the untold losses. One which everyone could share and recognize and openly talk about. A stand-in for all the things that could not yet be named.
The horizon birthed a small disk of sun and the cool air warmed. The hairs on Annika’s arms stood up. She had goosebumps. Geese. She’d forgotten about geese. Yes, even geese would be missed. She sighed again, a tic she’d acquired but was not yet aware of, and continued on her walk. Ducks, and pigeons, and cardinals, and warblers, and woodpeckers, and chickens, and…
3 thoughts on “Memories of Birds”
Written anything of length, lately? (nudge, nudge)
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I recall you’ve asked this question a few times–this was the first comment I happened upon. Three new stories available for pre-order, details on my newest post. Haven’t seen you around in a while, I hope you’re well!
We usually go for ice cream to the Boat House and sit beside a river inhabited by geese. They flock around you hoping for a taste of ice cream. They are very bold and dart up to you until they are shooed away. One bit me on the finger trying to nab my ice cream…………and don’t get me talking about the amount of geese poop that is generated over a 24 hour period which desecrates the holiest of ice cream habitats. I say good riddance to geese. They are only good for Christmas dinner. Bah, Humbug………………..imaginative story though.
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