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by R. E. Walker
“Why have I lost my voice?” The little bird wondered? “Just
moments ago I sat high above the yard singing. Breath is still
with me and there is so much left to say.” Little bird thought
with her little brain, then thought some more but to no avail.
There was not a song to be heard, just the noise of things moving
about the day. So she asked the yard cat down below, who sunned
himself on the fresh cut lawn, for an opinion. “Why did I loose my
song? Do you know at all?” The old cat turned himself over onto
his great fat belly. He opened one lazy eye, then another, and
answered softly after a long sigh.
“Come closer yet closer still little bird. I will tell
you everything you want to hear.”
So it was that little bird flew very close to the old
cat. The orange fur coat the cat wore was full of white hairs and
his teeth seemed to be gone. Perhaps since he no longer used them,
he put them away in a nice memory box, thought little bird. Anyway
little bird could see that the cats’ years were very far behind
him, and that he could only be very slow. “Perhaps I will be safe
enough.” She thought. So little bird took courage and asked “Well,
do you have an opinion on why I lost my song or not?” This was the
second time little bird asked, but the cat said only.
“Closer still so I can tell you.” Then he yawned and at
that moment little bird could see some of the old cat’s teeth. She
then hopped upon its large head and as she looked down he called
“Closer” The old cat smiled a wicked smile.
“I am right here on your head how much more can I
be?” Little bird huffed. The old cat then said.
“Here upon my tongue.”
“You are much too old to play this game.” Little bird
scolded the cat as she jumped up and down on his head. But the cat
made no apologies. In fact there was no answer at all, just the
sound of snoring. The old yard cat had gone back to sleep. There
seemed to be no point in jumping or complaining now. Little bird
then flew to a pond near by. The pond was surrounded by tufts of
tall grass and an ancient tree with roots that ran all along the
waters edge. She looked to the middle of the pond to a small
island. It was simply a pile of rocks with some mud on top and
long grasses that grew there poorly. In the middle of everything,
and it wasn’t much, was a turtle who was just big enough to cover
nearly the whole island. “Hello!” little bird shouted across the
“Hello” the turtle answered, “No need to shout, there is
not that much water between us.” Then the turtle unexpectedly
pulled herself back into her shell. Little bird was startled by
this and thought somehow she had made the turtle angry. So she
flew to the small island and rested atop the turtles shell.
“What are you doing?” Snorted the turtle. “Are you here
to rescue me?”
“It looks like your safe from the cat out on this
island. Little bird told her. But the turtle laughed at what the
little bird said. It surprised her that she did. It had been such
a long time and it felt good to laugh again. Perhaps I will visit
with this little bird for awhile she thought. The turtle stuck her
head out then spoke.
“That silly old cat is so lazy he never was a much of a
“What do you need rescuing from?” Ask little
bird. “Can’t you see? Don’t you know anything at all? Look at all
this terrible water surrounding me.”
“I don’t understand” Replied little bird. “Don’t you
“No! ... Well not in this excessive amount. “Dear me … dear
dear me.” Little bird understood very little of what the turtle
said then except that there was a little girl who put her “Here in
the middle of all this water, this terrible, terrible water.” And
because of that the turtle complained bitterly with whispers and
shoutings and great salty tears.
“So you don’t like the water? I thought turtles liked
water.” She bent her head to look into the turtles eyes.
“I would if God had made me a water turtle. But I am not
a water turtle. I am a box turtle. I live in the dry earth…you
know sand, dry sand. Give me land … I don’t even know if I can swim
“But you’ll have to try.” Little bird interrupted the
turtle. This startled her and she pulled her head further back
into her dark shell. She then hissed ...
“No. It is not safe and I am not certain. Seems to me
those are good reason to just stay put.”
“Well if you think so” little bird told the turtle, then
ask if the turtle wasn’t to busy, perhaps she would give some
helpful advise. But the turtle simply said “No …”
“Why?” Ask little bird.
“Because I am in a hurry, things to do … busy, busy,
“No you’re not! You are here on top of a rock with a
little dirt and some really ugly grass.”
“They’re not ugly, their just different.” The turtle
reached over and cuddled the few blades of grass whispering to
them. “It’s alright my babies. She doesn’t know anything at all.”
Little bird looked at the grass and then back at the turtle and
said, “You’ve been here a long time haven’t you poor
dear?” The turtle broke into tears as she cried,
“Three months.” That is an awful long time to just sit
here. Yes it really is.” ... In a few moments the turtle was again
herself. She then asked little bird “What advise would you like?”
Little bird told her everything. “There I was,” she
said, “high above on a wire singing about this and about that,
just anything really that came to mind. It was then, or just about
then, that I noticed a noise. It wasn’t a terrible noise
really. It was just the … well noise of the day. You know the
clicks and clanks, the beeps and bops and bangs … you know what I’m
saying?” Little bird could tell by the confused look on turtle’s
face that she needed to explain her problem a little better and
perhaps a little slower. “What I am telling you is that when I
listen to all the noise my song was not in it. My song went
missing.” Then little bird asked.
“Well, what do you think happened to my song?”
“Oh I see” the turtle answered thoughtfully. She then
pulled her head back far into her shell until the reflective glow
of her yellow eyes was all little bird could see. Little bird
thought it odd but waited without complaint for a moment, and then
when the moment was over, waited a moment more. But the turtle
said nothing, honestly not a thing, not a hiss, not a snort, and
this became more than little bird could stand.
“Well, do you have an opinion or not?” Little bird cried
out. Frustrated by all the waiting she felt like she would burst.
Finally from inside her shell the turtle answered plainly.
“It is my own opinion and I need to consider all the
possibilities and dangers involved in this grave matter.”
“But something needs to be said.” Demanded little
bird. To this turtle replied, “Are you sure?” Little bird said,
“I think so.” Turtle stuck her head out and close to
little bird who was now directly in front of her and asked …
“Is it safe?” Little bird stepped back and as she did
answered, “I don’t know.” Turtle’s neck stretched out further,
until her face pressed against the little bird’s body. Turtle ask
“Are you certain?”
“I am not certain of anything.” Little bird felt it was
time to go. But she had hoped the turtle could have help her find
“Dear little bird, if you are not certain, and if it is
not safe, then you should stay put. Don’t go anywhere, or do
anything. You can hide from the noise of the day here with me on
this charming and comfortable island.”
“No! I have got to go now.” Little bird said it, and
then she did it. She flew far from the yard and the turtle and cat
to an unfamiliar place.
Little bird watched as the night came along with its
long shadows reaching out. Soon the little bird sat alone waiting
in the darkness. But then came the moon that watched with her and
the little stars gave there light. There were also many lights
from within the houses of the townsfolk. But these lights that
were many became few until the quiet came to visit, and little
bird was alone in it. She could hear her breathing and the sound
of her own heart beating. It was then she made a little peep, just
to hear it, it felt good to do it, but it was not enough to bring
back here song. Was she a part of the noise? Was that all she is?
The worried little bird waited in the dark, and the silence sat
waiting with her.
As morning grew out of the gray sky she found herself
perched on a pleasant tree, by a window where an old man sat
looking out. He didn’t see her at first. He didn’t really see
anything. His hands were folded and his eyes, although turned
toward the light, were closed. This seemed odd to little bird but
her brain could not gather together all the thoughts she held
inside and this too. So she turned her mind again to her own
problem. Who can help me find my song she wondered … Certainly not
a man? What would he know of a little bird or even care about my
song? Just then a voice came from within the room.
“Mr. Moe are you alright?”
“Yes I’m fine. I was just praying.”
“I brought you your medicine” the voice spoke
again. Little bird could not see the other person but she could
see the old man take the little paper cup and he smiled and told
the woman thank you. He then turned himself again toward the
window and leaned out. He took a deep breath and looked up. Little
bird was so close when he first saw her.
“Hello little bird.” The man said then whispered “Did
God send you here to bless me with a song?” It was just then, and
in a hurry too, her heart understood. She was not of the noise but
“I was made to bless the earth.” She whispered. It was
then little bird found her song. It had been hidden in her heart
the whole time. As she sang her voice filled the room where the
old man sat. It was a song of thanks to God for the voice she was
given, and the song He gave her to sing.
The man also joined the song by blessing God for the
good gift little bird had brought to him that morning. She
returned often to visit and to bless the old man until time took
them both to other places.