The flock of birds was headed south.
“Momma, look—that little one, he’s so far behind the others.”
I pulled onto the shoulder of the country road so we could watch the drama unfolding in the sky.
“He’s really trying to catch up, Momma. Is he going to be left behind?”
“I don’t think so, Sammy.”
“What if a hawk or a turkey vulture gets him?”
“His momma will make sure he’s safe.”
The sweet and subtle shifts in the August light always seduced me toward September’s softness. Always. Not memories, just sensations: the cool afternoon breeze, the clear blue sky tinged with just a bit of northern gray, sounds becoming a bit more muted. Only now, years later, comes the realization that the gentleness is followed by a pervasive sense of dread.
We sat quietly, looking up into the pale blue afternoon sky, watching the lone bird working hard to reach the flock a long distance ahead. We just sat there and listened to the silence. We felt the cool, wistful breeze coming through the windows.
“Momma, look—I think he’s catching up to them!”
“Wow, I think he is, too. He sure is fast. Amazing, isn’t it?”
“Momma, that’s the kind of thing that makes me want to cry happy tears.”
“Me, too, Sammy. We should remember that little bird, okay?”
I was glad that Sam would have memories that brought happy tears. I hoped Elli would, too.