I awaken at dawn to welcome in the new day. I stretch my wings, ruffle my feathers and hop on spindly legs to the end of the tree branch I call home.
‘Good morning,’ I tweet in my singsong voice.
‘Good morning, Goldcrest!’ Bluetit cheeps in response. ‘Good morning, world!’
Twitters and chirps, whistles and trills join the chorus. We sing high and low together, ‘Good morning, good morning, good morning!’
The Black brightens when the sun hits the horizon. It transforms gradually from a deep violet to an ethereal magenta, so stunning I could stare for hours. It only lasts a moment before swirling into the familiar pearly Blue. I hatched below the Blue and learned to fly through the Blue. I love the Blue.
The leaves of my tree rustle as Squirrel scampers up the trunk. The rodent and I have never quarrelled, but she disturbs me with her disruptive manner. The branches shake and sway, attracting unwanted attention from bigger creatures and birds of prey. My feathers stand on end as her unnervingly sharp claws scratch the wood with a screech. As soon as I hear her coming, I spread my wings and flit away.
It is going to be a wonderful day. Down below, the flowers and long green stems shimmer with droplets of dew. The Blue is painted with the faintest wisps of white. The sun rises, a golden, blinding radiance overlooking the reserve. The air is crisp and the chilly breeze lifts my wings.
I am one of the smallest birds in the nature reserve. Sparrow has a large enough wingspan that he does not need to flap so fast. I must move rapidly and persistently to keep from hurtling towards the ground. Instead, I streak across the Blue in a blur.
I flap, I glide – flap and glide.
An elderly woman with a purple coat and matching hat unhooks a ball of brown fluff from its collar and lets it scamper free. Her shoulders shake with a chuckle. She nestles her hands in her pockets, sighing with relief. Invisible lips curve into a sleepy smile as her dog sprints and leaps, perhaps remembering when she too could run and jump. Like birds, humans tire as they grow old. As youngsters, they are loud and energetic – unstoppable, except by the marching of time.
There is one now, skipping beside her father along the lake, tugging at his arm so hard that he cannot help but flinch. She has a head of unruly black curls, similar in colour and texture to a burnt bramble bush. She would make for a comfortable nest, if it wasn’t for the noise and constant jumping about.
Over there! I see him. My favourite human. He has a massive coat, the same shade of olive as the surrounding wildlife. A pale hand disappears into one of his many pockets and emerges flat, holding a feast of suet and birdseed.
‘Beat you to it, Goldcrest!’ Bluetit cheeps.
No you will not, I think, but save my song.
My wings tuck in tight and I dive.
The human awaits calmly, palm outstretched, eyes wide and expectant for my arrival. As I hurtle towards him, I gather in speed. The world becomes a blur of green, grey and brown. The human grows larger and larger.
It is time to stop. Time to halt!
My wings scoop desperately at the air, attempting to control my fall. The wind rushes past my face, burning my eyes and dishevelling my feathers.
Time to halt!
I am cradled by warmth. A gentle, soothing finger strokes my wings.
The human speaks and although his loud rumbling words do not resonate with me, I know I am safe. I wiggle my wings, hop up and down twice for reassurance and conclude that I am not broken. Nor dead. Either that or I am in heaven, for I stand upon the grandest pile of food I could imagine this sunny morning. The human’s lips lift in a grin and their eyes sparkle like the disturbed surface of the lake.
‘Thank you,’ I tweet, before stuffing my beak with the delectable earthy flavour of suet and birdseed.
Deborah Rose Green is Contributing Editor for Hey Young Writer! She is also the author of Dragon Pearls (2019) and Crown My Heart (2020). You can follow her on Instagram at @authordeborahrose or visit her website, deborahrosegreen.co.uk!