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Farmette1769's Blog

by Monica Melograna-Ward

In a departure from a normal Farmette 1769 blog, I am posting a short fiction story as a tribute. My beloved husband lost his beloved father 22 years ago today (I wrote “The Gull” one year before, but never published it.). This is also for all of you, and all of your beloved ones that have passed on.

Note: I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but this blog post ended up in my trash folder. It originally posted on January, 12, 2018. So, here it is, alive again…

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The Gull

of Mortality and Vision
written and illustrated by
Monica Melograna

 

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Last Breath,
Subsiding Strength,
Quiet soothing darkness

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The trees were reminding us that they were dying. Only to be reborn in the spring rain, but dying just as well. All the creatures who would not survive another winter struggle would fade to quiet before the harshness took them, capturing their shock in death for eternity. For those who continued their labor, a long contemplative winter approached.

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This was the time when I was walking through the carpet of reminders. Breathing in the crisp November air. I wandered inside my mind, thinking of my own fate. Then my eye caught something out of place, something moving too quickly, erratically. As I moved closer, the blur of energy transformed into a white bird, alone amongst a flock of geese which paused in its migration to enjoy the lake.

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The bird lay on its back, flapping frantically, quite unnaturally. I stood there watching it. Then, slowly, I picked it up. Holding the bird, still positioned on its back, supporting the length of its body with two outspread hands, I strode back in the direction from where I had come, unsure of what I would do.

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There was no sign of damage. One side of the bird’s face was wet and muddy, but otherwise this creature was clean and slick and beautiful. Movements spoke to me. The bird twisted its head as if to dislodge some foreign object. Gently parting the beak, I looked inside. There was nothing as I peered down as far into the throat as I could see, but I felt that something unnatural was deep inside, maybe a discarded candy wrapper or a plastic bag.

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The bird’s behavior did not change from the ground to my hands. It was as though it was in so much agony that there was no energy with which to fear me. But when I attempted to find its pain, the bird seemed to realize where it was and let out two sharp, loud cries.

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The dream of the sea opened wide. Rhythmic waves pulsed through the earth. Their vibrations rose and fell beneath the crystal sand. Sunshine beat down from a tall sky burning through skin and blood. The distance faded into another world. An eternal world; gray and misty, silent and calm. A land of mirrors exists there. It is a place where I might explore myself with no distractions, alone but content.

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Lingering would make it hard to come back. The heat and the clean salt scent and the vision beckoned me. My consciousness awoke when the bright light was interrupted by the passing shadows of beating wings. When their throaty, echoing calls reached me, I was able to make out the rigid beaks and feathered hands.

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The sound reverberated, then fell. I knew that the bird’s hidden wounds could not be mended in time to save it. I lay it down, on its feet this time, but its wings could not clear the earth. Its head twisted and swung on its neck still trying to dislodge an invisible thing. I picked the bird back up. It lay on its back nestled in my two hands, its movements limited. The violent thrashing quieted.

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Then inside my thoughts and in my spirit I asked it to let go. Its future was impossible. It must give way…..Slowly it complied. The movements quelled. The bird felt warm in my hands. It slowed down even more and though I was wishing that I had somehow calmed the bird, its eyes showed me that it had surrendered.

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Then death was in my hands. I laid death down at the base of a tree. I could not leave him exposed for all passing eyes. He looked naked there, vulnerable. I scanned the area. Finding nothing to dig with, I decided on a blanket of leaves. He was gently covered with the fallen reminders.

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It was a soothing darkness. The shroud appeared as stained glass. He rested in the nest of comfort, oblivious to the bitter cold that spun ice outside his refuge. It was so different from his former life. It felt good. The predators had fled, and he had no fear. He would have been content to remain there at that place and time for eternity, hungerless, but could claim the space no more than any creature could.

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Slowly he began the transformation. He blended into the foliage. He merged with the soil. He flew with the wind, until very little remained. But there was enough to provide evidence of his existence, and for a short while he was shining bright in the sky calling out to the elements, daring them.

TheGull_Credits

designed by Monica Melograna
typefaces Goudy Regular/Goudy Italic
type set in QuarkXpress DTP software
the Apple Macintosh computer
© 1995

Note: I left this as originally written, although I was tempted to make quite a few corrections/improvements.

Postscript
Eventually, we’ll meet up with them again, in the stardust.

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