Hallmark cards from dystopia

Tuesday afternoon I stepped out to stretch my legs after a long telephone conversation and heard the call of an osprey nearby. The osprey’s cry in the sky has qualities of whistle, squeal, and scream, usually expressed in a slow-motion staccato at an altitude that carries far. This one sounded different, and when I spotted the bird there circling over our house, backlit by the blazing afternoon sun in the way they say the Red Baron used to attack, I could see it had something in its talons. Not the silver flash of fish scale one normally sees in the clutches of an osprey, but something dark and furry. The river hawk would glide a little bit, then flap and clutch tighter at the same time as it squealed, in a way that made you think it wasn’t the bird making the noise, but the small mammal it was carrying home for a late lunch. And then the squeals stopped.

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