The Crane Continues IV

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The Verdict 

continued ….. I hate them for saying that.  Who are they to decide whether another living thing should live or die?  

They look at each other then back at me.  Without saying a word I know the verdict. 

I look at the crane, its head feathers tousled by an on shore breeze remembering the moment I saw its head above the cat tails such a short while ago.  So much had happened during that brief span of time.

Then I have an idea!  I open my mouth to tell them I could take the crane back to the swale where I found it so it can die in peace but, it’s too late.  Jake is already more than halfway to the curve.

Waiting for Death

I follow Jake to his house where I sit hunched over on an old wooden bench made from two tree stumps and a thick board facing eastward toward the lake, waiting for Jake to emerge from his house not knowing what to expect.

Halfway between where I sit and the the top of the rise at the far end of the lane, the crane stands motionless on one spindly leg, the left side of it’s body in profile it’s long neck and beak sharply defined.  

The lake appears as a grayish blue ribbon between the top of the dune at the end of the lane and the pale blue afternoon sky reflecting off the horizon line.“

I’m wondering if the crane was aware of my presence back when I stared into its unblinking eye thinking I had seen a flicker of awareness?  Had we really made a connection back in the swale where Gray had made her discovery?

The crane seems lifeless now almost like a statue. Maybe I was imagining things.

I hear Jake approach.

Jake’s Gun

The double barrels of Jake’s shotgun appear pointing skyward to my left.  Jake lowers the gun barrels so that they’re pointing at the ground while, with his thumb against the locking lever he jerks up sharply. The barrels, one on top of the other crack open.

Jake cradles the open shotgun against the left side of his body.  I see into the black holes of the ‘over and under’ shotgun barrels waiting to be loaded with the fat red shells Jake holds in his right hand.

With one continuous motion, Jake’s thumb press the two shells into their chambers then, pulls up while pushing down at the same time locking the double barrels into place. 

The barrels of the shotgun move upward disappearing from my field of vision as I continue to stare at the bird its head feathers ruffling in the breeze as I had seen them do back in the swale after Gray’s discovery brought us together.

Red Feathers 

I can’t take my eyes off of those dancing feathers it feels like I’m in two places at the same time.

In some strange way maybe those feathers are acknowledgement that, there HAD been a connection between us. Things can be funny like that sometimes can’t they?

The air is still.. I’m not breathing.  

Unable to move I feel frozen in place and time.  

The only sound? Deadly silence when, without warning an explosion lifts me off my seat!.  I’m falling over backward but manage to regain my balance.  

At precisely the same moment the explosion rocks my world I witness the most amazing sight I’ve ever seen.  

continued …. Inanimate 

 

The Crane IV

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I moved closer, wrapped both arms beneath the crane’s belly and lifted it out of the water.  I carried it up the side of the swale to the gravel road, turned right onto the black top where I began moving toward the cottage with the bird in my arms trying to see over the top of its back, feeling its wing feathers against my chin and the side of my face.

I stayed focused on the road ahead, straining to keep the bird’s talons from scraping the black top, oblivious of the passing cars, their honks, stupid comments and questions.

The dog trotted along keeping a wary out for my safety while the bird, its neck fully extended gazed at the passing trees and empty spaces along the side of the road.

Walking along, I pictured myself nursing the bird back to health; feeding it, loving it, giving it life once again, then watching it fly away free to ride the wind currents once again aware of its world with a renewed desire to live.

I had watched my mom raise 6 baby squirrels from the time they were hairless, no bigger than her pinky finger feeding them every 4 hours 24 hours a day for weeks until they grew and became such a nuisance, all six of them climbing over her body like she was a small tree, tangling her hair, knocking her glasses off, that she finally set them free.

Surely she would help me rescue the bird.

I had high hopes for my friend the great Crane, who had allowed me to gaze into its eye and be part of its life.

Little did I know what was in store for both of us.

continued …