I wander over the ways, while all around me people turn the rich ochre soil, planting row upon row of new young trees with the greatest care and attention. I walk on, leaving the silently-absorbed people behind me still busy with their devoted task. Now I notice something lying on the ground ahead of me: a large and apparently lifeless young female bird with its neck bent in a strange, unnatural curve.
Next to this creature is a second bird, evidently a larger female, for she is giving birth while standing, splaying her legs as a giraffe does – and also like a giraffe, but certainly not like a bird, she is giving birth, not to an egg, but to a live young one. The new-born baby bird drops to the ground next to the first, who until now has remained unmoving. As if sensing the presence of the new-born next to her, the first bird now suddenly comes to life. She shakes her head, shakes her feathers, straightens her neck, rises up to stand on her two legs, and begins to prod the baby with her beak, encouraging it to do the same.
Seeing this, and apparently aware that her own task is now fulfilled, the mother trots away, the splendid radiance of her iridescent feathers leaving a trail of rainbows in her wake. The new-born and the one now standing over it, who seems to be barely older, also have this same radiant plumage. Lapis blues, turquoises, even raven-blacks: all are shining with the brilliance of butterflies’ wings.
My feet carry me onwards, as if I am forbidden to linger for too long at any one place. Perhaps that is so, for footsteps are always footsteps in time, and the way we see things now is not as they will appear to us tomorrow, or as they seemed yesterday. And so I leave the two birds behind me, with the new-born still being encouraged to stand by her companion, her identical other.
Did the new-born also manage to struggle to her feet? I am sure that she did. The struggle to stand up is inherent, instinctual. We make the effort even though it is so much easier simply to stay lying on the ground. Farther behind me, new trees are already growing. And I who must walk on, follow the path which the mother has taken, walking in the trail of rainbows which she has left for me to follow.