Wednesday, June 1, 2011

shell shocked

Breaking egg shell makes a distinctive sound.
I was startled to hear a rustle in tree branches overhead, and then the sound of egg shell crushing on the ground behind me.
I whirled to see a robin's egg in halves, its contents rapidly disappearing into the grass.
A crow leered down at me.

I find robin egg fragments on the ground from time to time. Some no doubt have been tossed from a nest by zealous housecleaning birds after the young have packed up and headed for college. Or perhaps wind plucks the empties and parachutes them safely to the grass.
It always seems such a treasure to happen upon an egg, its shell the colour of a summer sky.

As a teenager, I found a nest on the ground with whole robins eggs in it late one fall.
Humpty Dumpty didn't survive his fall, but these little eggs were like perfect jewels.
I cradled the remains of the nest with its treasure and hastened to the car.
I placed them gingerly on the passenger seat.
I could hardly wait to take them home and show my father.
It was several hours before I returned to the car accompanied by my friend's mother who had been promised a ride home.
She opened the passenger door and tiredly dropped into the front seat.
That moment in time is frozen in slow motion in my memory.
I see her beginning to drop into the seat.
I hear my croaked warning punctuated by the sound of crushing egg.
Some law of physics closely entwined with the law of gravity allowed no possiblity of stopping her descent like an over sized chicken onto its nest.
The tragedy was not without its victims; her polyester pantsuit, and four little eggs that lay reeking among the rubble.
There's a reason BC Gas uses the smell of rotten egg to warn of impending danger.

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