On a Frozen Beach

bluebird-in-flight

(Credit: forum.americanexpedition.us/eastern-bluebird-facts)

Waves crashed against the frozen beach. It was as if they were intruding on a photograph, trying to change what has already been locked into its final position. The wind sprayed me with salt and my skin tightened. I continued along the beach, looking out at the grey horizon, hands deep in my pockets.

Chirping made me turn my head. Then I stared in wonder. In front of me, a bluebird perched on a flowering plant the size of a five-year-old child. The stem was as thick as my fist and split into several light green branches, which twisted and turned before they ended in star shaped blue flowers with yellow centres. The bluebird kept singing its song from a green spiral with pointed leaves. It sounded distant in my ears, as I rubbed my eyes.

‘It must be some sort of trick,’ I thought. I crept closer and the bluebird hopped back and forth on its perch, but it did not fly away.

‘The plant must be made of plastic,’ I thought, ‘someone put it here in the snow to brighten up the beach.’

But when I came closer, I saw that the snow was melted away around the stem, and the stem continued down into the sand. I could not make sense of it. The plant had not been there on my last walk, and it had been hard frost all month, how could anyone have dug it into the sand? Also, it did not look like plastic. I removed my glove to feel the leaves and noticed that the air was warmer the closer I got to the plant. I moved my hand away and closer again to make sure, and yes, the plant was definitely radiating warmth.

The bluebird chirped weakly at me. Did it have green stripes on its toes?

I considered picking a flower to show to my friends, but I did not want to ruin this for the next person to come along. So I put on my glove with a sigh and continued on my walk, feeling lighter and warmer than I had for a long time. Looking back over my shoulder, I noticed the bluebird was gone.

It must have finally flown away.

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