Monday, 17 February 2020

Birds of a feather

Today's writing was inspired by an event listed in the upcoming Dunedin Fringe Festival (19-29 March). Local artist Manu Berry has a bird themed exhibition and is asking people to provide stories about birds based on their personal experience. Birds are a wonderful theme as everyone is bound to have multiple stories to share. The trick, from a literary perspective, is to not just say what happened but to wrap it up in a story that is compelling and interesting to read.


Streams of golden sunlight pierces native bush. I hear the distant trickling of a far off stream, A rustle behind me. Silently and slowly I turn and before me a cheeky curious kea scooping up its lunch. A foot away from me, it follows brazenly, footsteps to hops. I approach the rest of my hiking party. It flys off with a flash. I am left in awe of nature's wonders.

- Sarah Williams


The bell rings for lunch. I gather my jam sandwiches and venture forth towards the playground. I take a bite when I hear the distinctive squawks of the seagulls as they come swooping into the lunch area, chasing each other away for the chance of a meal. I gobble my lunch and rush inside as the flock of gulls dive bomb for the chance of a snack.

- Sarah Williams


"Rats", he said. "They were eaten alive by rats."
Leaving the bedroom, I walked out into the lounge. From the fireplace I heard a thumping.
"Oh my God", I thought. "The rats are here to eat us alive."
Following that thought came a scream. Inside myself I felt my stomach twist and turn. as the screaming subsided I looked at the logburner.
"Oh my God," I thought. "It's a bird."
Fluttering, thumping against the door of the logburner was a sparrow. It had flown into the chimney and got stuck. I opened the logburner door and out it flew. It was flying into the windows but not the one I had opened to let it fly free.
Something had to be done.
Grabbing a ruler. I pushed it out the window, thinking of it as my good deed for the day. That ruffled up sparrow was my ticket to a better hereafter.

- M.F.


    Suddenly it was upon us; that supposed night of stillness, when the Christmas star shone brightly overhead... But the cold despairing ebb of day, presented anything but!
   Wild winds of torrential velocity had swept the country and pounded our shorelines for three solid days, with no let up. The sky was obscured to an impenetrable dimness; at an even earlier hour, by the unpredictable elemental onslaught.
   I had arrived home without hope in my heart and my body desperately wanted sleep.
   But my eyes were drawn to the window in the half light, to a shape which I almost convinced myself was imagined. However, in keeping with the nature of curiosity, I found myself drawn to the back door which kept appearing to recede within the enveloping darkness and the rude onslaught of the vicious blast.
   Experimentally edging my way out of the long forgotten sun room, around the side of the rear decking, now only visible to the soles of my feet, I realised at first; only by my tenuous sense, that there was indeed a shape which perceptibly took the form of a bird in trouble.
   My heart appeared to provoke the simultaneous weakness I began to experience in my legs, as the thump of its sinus rhythm pervaded my being atypically. Edging closer to the delicate creature increased the intensity of the delayed moment, as I began to virtually sense its breathing; under duress. A palpable fear gripped me; both for the desperate plight of my visitor and beyond that; whether I could maintain the presence of mind to attempt to assist it on such an occasion.
  Another face drenching of dark rain later, swirled into my whipped and ever tangling hair; artistically modified by the increasingly treacherous gusts, (in disagreement about abating), practically rendering me vision-less for the interminable next minute.
 ...There came a warmth towards me by way of my arms, which knew their purpose independently; unlike the trajectory of my thoughts, but embodying a deep emerging joy, as the life in its shallowness, nestled in my breast.
   Reaching the house was forgotten, as the contrast of comfort, warmth and dryness, by way of a box and mild warm hot water bottle sufficed, to carry my little feathered friend through the long uncaring night ahead.
  By morning, my heart smiled on hearing promising movement from the sleep nurturing confines of the box.
  Recovery had been a near miss, but sometimes in life there is an epiphany.
  I knew that it was what was in my heart that really mattered.
  That day I saw the hope of Christmas.
  I was rescued by a beautiful white dove.

- AH-B



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