The Dipper

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photo at pixabay

It was a dry sunny day when I first saw him. As I walked along the beck, the trees over hanging it swayed and rustled in the breeze and sent dappled light to dance on the water. Amongst the patterns was a patch that remained steady. After a while I realised it was a head of straw coloured hair, and I glimpsed moving branches that were, perhaps, brown arms and legs. A tune sang through the bubble and tumble of the stream.

The sun dazzled me briefly as I approached. When I entered shadow again and my eyes could see, there was no sign of that figure.

A little dipper bird watched me from a mossy boulder. Just before I reached his part of the beck he flew upstream a few yards and perched again, bobbing his head a few times. He continued ahead of me, skimming the stream, and dipping in and out of the flowing water as he went. The swooshing of water played beside me, with a faint tune fading in and out. Time seemed endless. Now was yesterday, and tomorrow, and last year, and maybe even last millennium. The beck unchanged and timeless. But when I reached the end of the trees and shadows, I realised the bird and music had gone; I was alone, and it was now once more.

Cathy Johnson

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