Hungry Birds

Across the river and into the trees and past the angry birds, we walked.

Across the river and into the trees and past the hungry birds, we walked.

We took a walk into the woods with our four-ton dog, and it was cool in the summer afternoon as a southern wind blew off the Atlantic ocean. My two eldest children, 10 and 8 years old, rode their bikes on the sandy lanes behind our house on the coast of Argentina. The five-year-old fluttered around. She found a snail shell and put it in her pocket just in case a hungry bird wanted to eat the juicy innards that were no longer there.

“You never know,” she said.

“Oh,” I said.

My wife and I walked behind and it felt good to relax after the rush of Christmas and New Year’s and after a year of looking after my dying father, with our bodies and minds still reeling and so very exhausted.

So we walked ahead and down the sandy lanes until we found a new playground, and the kids tested out the amusements.

Our minds rested, now with so few worries on a Saturday afternoon. We are a growing family with healthy children who want to experience life. They want to walk, bike, surf and pick up snail shells and think of troublesome birds, and they want to try to ride their bikes faster, and to stop and look around at the sandy vista at the edge of the woods, and think of now, with the sun slowly coming down, the future ahead with so much to do. But for now it was just enough to be, and so that is what we did for an hour of our lives as we walked. And we went home happier and more together, a family, the five of us with a dog, a cat and a shell that once held a snail called Lucas, the youngest said with her eyes on the lookout for any hungry birds on the hunt.

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