Stories of Unknown Lives

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Not Wasted

The small bird was alone on the beach.

He was trying to consume a large fish with great relish, pecking at it repeatedly. The fish was a fresh kill, caught in the net from the shrimpboat and washed ashore. I thought, Where are all the other birds? Someone will come steal his fish soon.

Time passed, and he kept working on supper. At first, it seemed he would never stop trying, even though that fish was as large as he was. But then he very suddenly conceded his impotence, raised his head, and let loose the shrillest of shrieks. Without hesitation, other birds of many sizes began to join.

Shortly after the call, a large bird came for the fish.

The small bird stepped away, instead watching from a distance. The large one ate the entire fish. I expected the littler one to leave, but he just watched for a long time.

Then I knew. He didn’t expect to eat. He was just sharing the discovery. When he could not eat the fish by himself, he called for the other birds, so that the meal would not be wasted. It was enlightening to perceive the communication of these birds so clearly, as if I were watching my own family. They interact in ways that most of us never come to understand. Perhaps we would do well to take more notes when our distant cousins have something to teach.

I rarely see humans share in an effort to avoid waste.

Suzanne the Beachrat
17 June 2017

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Reader Comments

Aiso
2017-06-18 09:38:34

The scene has been succinctly crushed.