Out In the Park, Watching the Birds

I sat down before it started raining, so the bench was still dry. A murder of crows occupied the field of shaggy, dark grass. I tried to write about the thin trees and the sunset peeking below the clouds and the white football posts and the distant school, but I couldn’t stop watching the crows. They did not blanket the field so much as spot it like a green leopard. I vaguely wished I’d brought birdseed. How long would they be content with low-flying insects or surfacing earthworms before spotting my juicy eyes?

Icy pinprick sensations betrayed the rain’s stealth and dark grey splotches spread like chicken pox on my notebook paper. The blanket of thick clouds moving overhead should have warned me to put my book away before I did. Getting up, I got tangled in a spider web. What felt like a single thread wrapped across both my arms. It did not seem to touch so much as hover almost lovingly just above the surface of my skin. But it was not loving, it was teasing—worse, threatening. The anticipation of touch unnerved me. You can’t get used to a spider web.

I pinched at myself to remove the thread, this ethereal thing, looking like a meth addict clawing at invisible intruders. I wouldn’t feel it between my fingers even if I caught it. It was the unseen caress of urban park nature—of spider webs and microscopic droplets of rain and the murderous stares of crows.

– H.

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