Not sleeping in the trees

“What did I say about running off?”

She found him further away from the playground, squatting down and focused on something in the dirt. She had a feeling she wasn’t going to like this conversation.

“What’s wrong with him?” her son signed.

The bird had been dead for some time. Insects covered parts of it, but he didn’t seem to register them, the smell, or anything other than that it was still bird shaped and wasn’t in the sky.

“Aren’t birds supposed to sleep in the trees?” he continued.

“Don’t touch that,” she said, kneeling down to move his hands back. “He’s just… going to his final home. The wild takes care of its own.”

He stopped touching it, but still stared down at the corpse. “Final home?”

“Yeah. One day everything goes to sleep and goes to their… final home. I’m not explaining this well, but do you understand? The body is dead, so the bird moved on.”

Her son nodded, understanding it either more or less than she ever could.

“Then come on, squirt. Let’s get you washed up.”

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