Sunday, January 4, 2015

Days 34 and 35

Something weird happened on day 34, though maybe it wasn't as weird as it was really gross. I didn't mention it when I got home, not in real life or on the internet, which is odd for an over-sharer. I've been thinking about it ever since, and after a moment of unusual and out of character introspection (haha) I realized why I couldn't get the vision of the dead bird out of my head.

Did I mention I found a dead bird?

I was on my way home when I spotted a large feather on the sidewalk. I stopped out of curiosity because it looked like a pin/blood feather, which birds don't lose easily. Buttercup lost one a while back, and trust me when I say it was bloody and traumatic for all of us. Story for another day.

 Blood stained the end of the feather. The "poor thing/so unusual/I wonder what happened" internal monologue began. I decided the bird had to be injured to lose a blood feather, so I scanned the area. I found another one on the homeowner's lawn, which turned into a trail of feathers leading from a tree to my feet.I turned around and nearly stepped on the breast bone, knees, and pelvis, all picked clean. About two feet farther down the sidewalk there was one large, yellow foot.

Cat, I thought. Hawk, judging by the yellow foot and size of the bones. A cat snuck up on a hawk and had some dinner. In my neighborhood, where cats and birds abound, a discovery like this one isn't out of the ordinary. This wasn't my first dead bird.

But it was the first time I actively searched for a dead animal, and that's what I realized was so unsettling. I stumbled upon a feather and knew it was out of the ordinary. I searched and found more feathers. I nearly stepped on the remains of the bird and found a gruesome foot. I was not surprised.

Life experience, knowledge picked up from reading random books over the years, and learning to trust my instincts all came together to help me find something really gross. My missing childhood innocence was never so obvious.

Had Mikey or Nico found the same feather, they wouldn't have realized it was a blood feather. They wouldn't have looked to see if they could find more. And I know a lot of adults wouldn't have either, but those same adults have brushed off the fantastical in favor of the most likely in other ways.

A child hears a tap in the middle of the night and thinks a burglar is outside. You know it's just the wind knocking branches against his window. Another child goes to Disneyland and walks out wearing a crown made of gold and rubies. You know it's plastic, made in China, and won't last the end of the month. It's the difference between believing there is a tooth fairy, an Easter bunny, and Santa Claus and being the tooth fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Claus.

It's an irrefutable sign of adulthood when you know you're going to find more than one feather.

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