“Careful!” — “What!?” — “The dead bird.”
Too late — Roma had already stepped on the animal. Upon noticing it, she jumped away, slid the transgressing foot off the shoe, then rubbed it against the other leg — probably an attempt to override the disturbing tactile reflex.
“Sorry, i noticed the dead bird when i arrived yesterday and forgot to tell you about it — what should we do?” I didn’t quite understand her answer, but it seemed as though it was no longer my problem.
We were clearing a few extra square meters of land to plant cucumbers, and my job was simple: to dig the perimeter, as straight as i could, and root out the bush-wannabes — i’m sure there is a precise, not-even-that-technical term for that — weeds? (Note to self: consider including more gardening books in my diet.)
I was given a shovel, which is quite fortunate because that’s something i’d seen before and could name — maybe — you’re now going to tell me that there are at least seventeen kinds of shovels, right? At least eleven — told you! There are supposedly eight types of shovel everyone should know (there will be a quiz at the bottom), and sixteen types of snow shovels alone.
I was appropriately given a trench shovel. Even so, it’s tough to dig a trench in a straight line. The process reminded me of an architect i shared the stage with at Ossobuco last year — she learned how challenging it is to build a straight wall from a construction worker, and the realization led her into a journey of acceptance of our limited control over materials.
Back in the present, i also wondered how many worms i might have accidentally sliced in half in the process — another note to self: look up how vegans who grow their own food might deal with this.
“Mika, come over here and bring the shovel.” — “The shovel?” — “Let’s bury the bird next to that tree.” — “You want to bury the bird?” — “It’s a living being.”
Having synchronized her request and my understanding of it, i dug the hole — with the trench shovel, which is also the one i was using to weed out the prospective bushes (and also kill more worms and whatnot) in the second part of my job. She dropped the bird, which she now held by the feet with her bare hands, into the hole. I covered the hole with dirt, stepped on it to compress, and stared at it in contemplation for a couple of seconds — we all moved on — it was not very ceremonial.
Or perhaps already too much — for lunch, kholodets‘.
Featured photo: a bench?
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‘Trelograms’ is a wordplay between ‘telegram’ and ‘trélos’ (Greek for ‘mad’)