Ten Seconds

A young House Wren emerges from the thicket of tall grasses. Instantly, it jumps onto high branch of a leafless bush, surrounded by rocks in the middle of the garden path. Size of a kiwi fruit, stout and brown, tail short and upright, the wren turns its head this way and that. Beady eyes skim over me – be still, a bird approaches – to search for danger in this new place. The tiny decurved bill looks like the mouth of a concentrating child. Soundless, the wren hops to a lower branch, then to another, and another. A span of two seconds, though it seemed like less. Onto the path the wren returns, staying still just long enough so that it almost blends with the dark dirt. Then it flutters to a thickly-leafed, thorn-stemmed plant on the other side of the path. I stand up from the bench and move to try to find the wren. But it’s disappeared.

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