..two squirrels..

no one about

the whole way down the back road.

two squirrels so i talk to them, and the tiny

dunnock bird

he said they are brown

down

in the dirt and this is so

they often are as are we

all

good place to be in earth

to plant and grow while

small birds look for food

**

the story continues

**

now you know that the bird has died

and her wish was to preserve it somehow

that was yesterday

she had balanced it on a cotton reel, you know the old wooden ones with red thread.

this balancing thing

started years ago

in childhood, a game. later life a habit, a meditation.

she watched others, the artists balancing stones

copied , then balanced all sorts, soaps. boxes, anything really.

perhaps it is a control thing she supposed as she balanced the bird.

today

it stays easily. she looks a long time, takes her phone

and photographs.

looks, looks

adds objects.

photographs .

waits for dusk, for the light to change

lowers and photographs. a different app and repeat

another photograph.

a rest

to diary checks on the body each day for corruption, by now in the

clean studio below.

she had tried other things in the past to preserve. a robin in the freezer all the time she was away and had been succesful in that it was complete but came with her fear of the thaw : so never was.

now next to the peas in the vegetable section.

the shrew had been sat in a nutshell and had dried naturally as did the bird that came down the chimney and stuck in the stove that summer. found on a chill day when opening the door to start a fire.

she makes the decision on drying though knows the chances are slim.

meantime the photographs continue and move on to scanning the wee thing alone, then with varying backgrounds and degrees of success.

skulls .

there are a lot of skulls down here in the studio. a few any way. she is prone to her own excitement and exaggeration.

bird skulls found, placed, kept, some on cotton reels under glass domes. her father had done that now she followed his lead. she remembered the time he had placed a mouse corpse under a bell jar to see how that worked

he was dismayed at the decay and mildew; the stench when he lifted that jar. his experiment a failure.

it was that same day when the news was full of belsen, the camps and with that smell of one dead creature as company he despaired at history. he despaired still over the present time, wordless.

he had told her about it all over and over in shame for what they had done; still do.

her mind had wandered back, with time to remember, reflect. she drags back to the now to the task in hand.

the preservation.

the words remain.

** each chapter a day; each day a chapter, each chapter a bird.

each day a drawing**

so she continues in the studio drawing.

she likes this feeling

of

honest marks and lines different from the immediate gratification of a photograph. though with the latter she enjoys the creativity of editing, layering ; drawing in on the original idea.

time passes, passes. her mind so focussed that world outside her own skin forgotten.

time passes.

the bird

preserved.

it is a gift.

**

there is no one about down the back road

just two squirrels.

i wander up the slope to the studio

to see if she is in.