Started with a Sickening Thud

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While doing homework with Beasley at the kitchen table, we both heard it. It was a dull, but eerily sickening thud against the side of the house. I saw a shadow just before. We both thought someone had tossed something against the house.

There it was. A cardinal had struck the house. It was dying. We watched its head move for a few seconds; its beak opened and closed a couple of times. Silently. The body still. And that was it. It died quickly; in 20 seconds or thereabouts.

“Aww…” I said.

Beasley said, “You should have seen your face when you said ‘aww’.”

The cardinal’s neck was clearly broken. The head lolled around unnaturally. Since we had to take it away from the front of the house, we decided to give it one last flight.

We walked it through the forest and to the lake. We discussed how much we admired cardinals and how it could leave behind a sad, lonely widow.

We said our goodbyes and sent it on its very last flight. It flew perfectly.

As we waited for it to sink, a buck ran by. So full of life.

[photography by Beasley Korsakov]

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