Thursday, December 31, 2015
The weather in North Carolina at this time of year is unpredictable, at best. It can be 29 degrees in the morning, with frost covering the lawns, and by noon it’s 60, and spring like. Often, by 5 PM, it can get as high as 80! With these fluctuations come unpredictable things, such as sudden late afternoon rainstorms. Just like the one we had the other day. And after the rain has ended there is usually a chill in the air.
That’s how I believe she got there, racing ahead of the storm and looking for a safe place for herself and her lover.
Then she spied it- the flapping doorway to warmth and shelter. It was on the side of a house, located in an ordinary sub-division, in an ordinary town. She made a bee line for it, just as the first peals of thunder were making themselves known, with the wind beginning to gust, almost in verification of her fears.
He followed her inside the flapping doorway, a bit afraid to go too far, but also afraid of letting her go in alone. And then again, there was the storm to consider. Best to get inside and stay warm and dry.
He lost sight of her almost immediately, as she charged in ahead of him and into the darkness, further than he would have dared. He stopped following, waiting to hear her call to him, but no sound came. He waited until sunup the following day, when he could see a bit more inside.
His heart was racing as he trod the path she had taken only hours before. Where could she have gone? Surely she would not have left him. They had been together for quite a while, and the thought of her sudden disappearance was unthinkable to him. Still, he ventured further inside the darkness which belied the full daylight he was leaving behind.
That’s when he found her, lying on her side, at the bottom of the shaft, cold and dead to the touch. Still, he called to her, as if his song could awaken her from this slumber.
And that’s when I first heard the commotion, dismissing it as some slight annoyance, which, given time, would go away. But the mysterious sounds continued , until, no longer able to concentrate, I was obliged to go and investigate the matter.
The sounds were coming from the area of the laundry room, within the walls it seemed, at first. But soon I realized that the commotion was coming from inside of the dryer vent tube, that long cylindrical coil that lets the heat escape from the appliance. I had to take the door off of its hinges and move the dryer out to get to it.
Using a screwdriver to loosen the coil, I had Sue standing by with a pillowcase. Unhooking the coil and removing it I was struck by two things; the first was the beautiful blue bird with brown chest feathers, obviously dead; and the second thing, her lover, now silent as he watched me through the opening. He was almost relieved to have someone there, to share in his grief.
We took the cold and silent bird outside for burial in the garden flowerbed, which has not yet begun to bloom. When we went back into the house, her partner was flitting from room to room, searching for a way out. Opening the sliding doors to the rear of the house, I gently followed him, herding him towards the outdoors. After he was safely out of the house we interred his lost lover in the flower bed. This was sad enough, but the worst was yet to come.
Several hours later, while writing this story, I went outside to photograph the place where we had buried the beautiful blue bird. And there, on the branch of a nearby tree, sat her lover, gazing at the spot where we had buried his heart.