Nesting

tokens SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

“Why did they leave these things here?” Farrow scratched his head with a sharp talon.

“Decoration?”

Farrow glowered at the brown excuse for a mate. She lay good eggs and she did not complain when the worms he’d brought home to the nest were torn or half-eaten. He had to give her that. But she never did learn to keep her beak shut when rhetorical questions were posed. Where someone with a bigger birdbrain would know to quietly wait for him to impart wisdom, she thought she had something to contribute. It was exhausting.

“There is no such thing as decorations, Ferrolina,” he attempted a didactic tone, perched atop the side of the nest and peering downward at the log below them. “All actions have a reason, and even those that end up beautifying have another motive underneath.”

“There’s moss underneath,” she quipped, egging him on.

Oh, she knew he held himself in puffed regard and thought the lesser of her. He could be tedious. But she had the best nest location in the area, and his pride meant he could not let her (or the offspring, when they hatch) go hungry. It was enough. And under all his bluster he was not cruel, only vain. Better than the lowlife who’d left her mama half starved and the lot of them freezing in an exposed nest when she was growing. Two of her nest-mates hadn’t made it, and the dud was unceremoniously rolled out to splat frighteningly to the distant ground. None of that was going to happen to her four egglings. And she was adamant all four would make it. She knew it in her heart that none were duds.

He narrowed his eyes at her. Sometimes he thought he’d detected some snark mixed in with her idiocy, but her expression was so mild he determined it impossible. He must be putting wit where there was naught but simple-mindedness.

“Yes, there is moss there indeed,” he noted, as patiently as he could muster. Mates were a lot like younglings. You couldn’t fault them for what they did not have. “Some concepts are too difficult for females to understand. You are better suited for the nest, to concentrating on keeping the offspring warm.”

Ferrolina swallowed a chirp. He was so easy to poke. “They sure are pretty to look at,” she added. “But they will not fill tummies.”

Farrow straightened. It was his expression, oft repeated, that she had finally managed to internalize. It deserved a reward. “Indeed,” he nodded his head and preened a moment. “And I shall be soon back with something that will.”

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

Space To Roam

dark-clouds-on-a-sunny-day SueVincent

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

When they first left the city she was devastated.

She knew it was the better choice. That the twins’ sensitive lungs could not function in the pollution. That Mark’s temper improved whenever he had something green to look upon. That there will be less pressure on her to perform.

And yet … she mourned.

She worried that they will be terribly lonely. That the twins’ needs will drive her to distraction and that there will not be enough there to keep her mind from wandering into the darker corners of herself, especially in the days each month when she was already prone to the morose. She worried she would hate it. Hate him. Resent them.

She couldn’t have been more wrong.

The rolling meadows became an endless canvas of interest. The twins spent hours in the fresh air, content to watch the play of light and shade as clouds raced across the sky and birds fleeted and hares scampered and hawks floated languidly above. They did not cry nearly as much. They slept. They began to respond. It gave her time to know them. Their facial expressions and appetites and unexpected curiosity.

She was learning to know Mark better, too, and she liked what she was getting to know better than what she’d believed she’d liked when they first met. He was kinder since they moved. More patient. Less ashamed.

She knew he’d blamed her for the twins. For their impairments. For trying to birth two babies together and then doing it so poorly that she not only gave them damaged children, but was not likely to birth again.

In the city the children were a constant reminder of his imperfections. He was saddled with them yet found little comfort in babies who were sickly and odd-shaped and would likely never walk by his side. He was “the man with the cripples,” and though he never outright said it, she knew he resented the children for that. She knew he resented her, and that he hated his family for gifting them this exile.

But in the small estate in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by hills and bogs and streams and all manner of wild things, her husband seemed to find compassion. For himself. For her. For the children.

He calmed.

He took long walks.

He discovered fatherhood.

Neither of the twins smiled much, but when they did it would transform their wizened little faces into absolute delight.

In a moment of unexpected impulse, Mark discovered that he could make Tommy smile by spinning him high in his arms. And after that he could not get enough of Tommy’s dimple. Or Ronny’s laugh.

She could not get enough of Mark’s.

And she knew she would never forget the morning when she found Mark asleep in the nursery, draped on the daybed with the children cradled one to an arm. She loved him then in a way she did not believe possible.

So yes, when they first left the city, she had been devastated.

Yet in the vast open spaces of a fresh start, their grief diluted, they found a place to roam.

They found each other.

They found home.

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto

 

 

He’ll Do

 

The new hay-bringer was a handsome one. Calm posture. Wild mane. Warm eyes.

The others hung back as Bella stepped forward to inspect. Molly, heavy with foal, nickered a soft warning, and Bella swished her tail in understanding. Yes, she, too, was expecting, but she was not afraid.

She advanced to within a hoof-kick-space. He stayed put, unperturbed.

He carried no fear smell. No twitchy legs. No mouth yells.

Bella lowered her head some, and he held out his hand for a sniff. Sweat. Musk. Iron. Grass. Faint carrot smell.

She shook her mane, and he laughed and reached into an opening in his leg coverings to reveal an orange section of the vegetable. Offered it on an open palm.

Bella nosed it, lipped, chewed. Good.

She approved.

She tapped her hoof and felt the air shift behind her from tension to curiosity.

He’ll do.

Perhaps he even has apples.

 

 

 

For Crispina’s Crimson’s Creative Challenge

 

 

 

Underneath

morgan-petroski-t8vEpZNSp4c-unsplash

Photo: Morgan Petroski on Unsplash

 

 

She peeled away the stale layers

Of sorrow,

The sheets that wrapped around the core

Of what had once held

Grins.

And underneath the soot of tears

And grit

And grief

She found the gold that had been

Hidden

Soft against reality’s biting teeth.

 

 

 

For the dVerse quadrille challenge: Peel

 

 

Fallen

Fallen NaamaYehuda

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

I’ve lost connection

With over-tired roots

Fragile

With the passage of the elements

And time.

I’ve let go

To the shifting earth

And to the rocks

Repeatedly cracked open

By frost and sun.

And toppled to lie

Finally

Atop the ground.

Ready to go back

To that from which

I had

Become.

 

 

For the Tuesday Photo Challenge: Trees

 

 

Halfway Home

Photo: Sue Vincent

 

She never grew tired of it.

Even if fatigue had become part and parcel of her every day. Of her very breath.

It did not matter. Her fatigue didn’t, that is. At least, it did not matter as much as it would have otherwise. As much as she knew it could. As much as it had in the other place, where there was naught but white walls and white squeaky soles on squeaky clean tiles and antiseptic air and officious hands and flickering images on a screen where well-dressed persons babbled about things that did not feel relevant to her in the least.

They’d urged her not to leave.

She left.

No regrets.

Not when the trade-off was brisk air and the smell of just-trampled grass and the scent of rain and the open vistas of the world rolling down into the horizon where the sun met the mountains and the sky kissed the ground.

No regrets.

Not with the play of night and day around her, not with light that flickering on her covers and the sun licking her fingers as she lay in bed. Not with a world that breathed and changed and lived and died and reemerged. With yips of puppies racing down the lawn. The hiss of wind. The chirps of birds.

Sure, others were concerned, or so they said.

She did not share their dread.

Death did not scare her. Nor did the warnings that she’d be too far from hospital to get assistance in time if another crisis came. For a crisis was bound to come, and when it did, she knew she’d be content to face it with her face to the hills and her eyes on the valleys and the snow-capped mountains where her soul would soon roam.

For she was halfway home.

More than half, perhaps, now that most of the sand in her hourglass had been shed.

It did not matter.

She was halfway home, content with whatever lay ahead.

 

 

 

For Sue Vincent’s WritePhoto Challenge

 

The Birth Of Day

sunrise florida

Photo: Na’ama Yehuda

 

May the birth of day

Delight you

In the promise

That it brings,

Even with the clear

Potential

For the pulling of

Heart’s strings.

May you know

The hope of

Morning

As it touches

First light’s bliss.

May the good

Outweigh the painful

As tender dawn

To ocean

Kiss.

 

 

For the Sunday Stills challenge: Birthdays

 

Therefore

dream catchers OsnatHalperinBarlev

Photo: Osnat Halperin-Barlev

 

It has come to her before.

The message that had felt like lore

And made a home

Inside her core.

It ricocheted in her heart

Amidst the four walls

Of her soul.

Her spirit knew it,

And therefore,

She left her door open

For more.

 

 

For Linda Hill’s SoCS challenge: For/Fore/Four

 

 

All There Is

three line tales, week 135: students in the New York Public Library

Photo: Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

 

She would learn everything about it, she promised herself, and details will no longer catch her unaware. The books soldiered on, and she with them. By closing-time she was educated and heartbroken: She knew what it was. She knew it was incurable.

 

For Three Line Tales, week 135