A Bird in the Hand
They always came this way. Along by the canal, checking out the birds wading for crabs in the murky shallows, motionless one minute then suddenly bursting to life, thrusting their beaks into the thick mud in search of prey. Then through the Botanic Gardens, the lush rainforest plants luring them in with the promise of cool shade. Giant tree ferns and magnetic palms towering overhead, always with at least one dry frond rustling in the sweet, warm, silky breeze, scraping and scratching at the tree trunk. The rich, fertile smells of the earth after the night’s rain. Pausing now and then to take in the various tropical flowers, with their garish colours and strikingly odd shapes, then past the abundance of pink and white waterlilies gracing the surface of the pond. Quickly across the hot tarmac of the main road, empty of tourists in the wet season, and into the little park by the aged care place on the corner before heading home.