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In the numbing hush of a cold winter's night, a sudden downdraft from under a braking raptor's wings cuts through the pall, briefly fluffing snowflakes which then fall silently back over the site. Shortly thereafter, something from on high, something from God knows where thumps onto a snow bank, then, once again, the hush enshrouds the night.
This morning's walk was like so many others through the park at first light, until my eyes fixed on the sight of something just ahead, something standing alone on the rim of a long crescent snowdrift that hugged a cedar stand. Shaped like a rocket nosecone pointing to heaven and blessed with a delicate necklace of refracted light, it is but the size of a child's clenched fist.
From nowhere come
to nowhere go...
Close-up, this still-life with long ears graciously pressed closed by God knows what, displays glazed whiskers and a bulging right pupil frozen wide open, forever, while the left eye remains slammed shut, perhaps because the decapitating slash came from that side of its neck, a shear so sudden it clamped the thin-lipped mouth clothespin tight: no time for screaming; and when turned over, the severed head shows its vertebrate core, normally an oil-paint red but now a fading watercolour pink; a passing reminder of the frantic spinal cord signal to its now missing body and feet.
With ash-grey squall clouds gathering in the northwest, I re-place the remains as found, pointing straight up, and back away to my habitual path; return home with a pensive stride, notably shorter.
From the darkest core
of snow draped cedars