Fragile wings test wind currents across the Roanoke Valley.
Not so long ago the wings were naked buds sprouting from trembling, larval bodies, useful only in propping up a wobbly head and perpetually worm-hungry mouth.
Before that, each fragile fowl was an egg — perfect in geometry and full of hope. Some were so smooth and blue as to deserve a moniker unique enough to grace paint swatches at the hardware store: robin’s egg.
They survived hail. And snakes. Even other birds.
Mother made a shelter of her fluffed body. She warmed and turned the eggs through every late cold snap and rain-soaked night, while dad kept watch over the nest hidden deep in a wisteria vine.
When the vine was still brown and bare, they made of it a loom on which they wove grass-thread for a home.
Now nests are emptying. Beneath trees, bushes and vines, half-shells appear overnight, like mushrooms in the grass.
Finding them, children squat and turn each with a curious finger or stick before wandering off to play with fireflies already starting to glow in back yards.
Who knows where the fledglings will go? But the sky is clear and good for flying. -Sam Dean