The round bird call was constant. Its audience would no sooner hush life than they would have thought to banish death. These creatures tended to hide when we approached, as some children are cautious after being abruptly silenced, in the crouching way that the banished will learn to move.
It was rare that we heard her full song, and just as rare to witness the extravagant leaps and turns of her dance, the revelation of her full plumage something she had learned to save for the shadows.
And yet she would emerge sometimes, with the upright carriage of a dancer, to find us in our own reflections at the water’s edge, barely listening, as was our custom. With a deft fingertip she would nudge the temples, saying look up.
Go, she would say. Go to the babies and hold them, for they are like us, too.