The Formation of Birds by Kimberly Sewell
The world was new. A lump of soft clay painted with the soft fur of grass and the sharp teeth of mountains, still growing and settling. As the Creator looked on, rivers flowed and oceans formed. Clouds gathered, winsome and malicious by turns as they passed over the lands, undulating endlessly between the soft breath of a lover and the angry bruises of the wronged. The Creator was satisfied with this new world, but saw that it was lacking. The trees sighed, their arms bare and lonely despite the leaves and blossoms that adorned them, and the Creator knew what to make next.
From the Ether, the Creator pulled string. From the Ground, still warm and malleable, the Creator pinched a piece of clay. From the winds, the Creator plucked a wisp of cloud, bending and pressing and pulling, until They held in Their hands a feather.
The world continued to grow, flowers bursting open and releasing their mixed aromas into the sky, rocks hardening and rolling to a stop with sharp cracks or rounded edges by turn, and the trees sighed for something they did not know how to miss. All this transpired as the Creator labored over Their new creation, and then suddenly the skies filled with birdsong.
The creature of clay and string and feathers, leapt bright eyed from the Creator’s hand. It plummeted towards the earth then spread out two magnificent wings. The winds lifted the creature and set it among the clouds. The bird trilled its happiness, but flapped its wings and dove down. The grasses swayed and reached upwards to stroke the downy belly of the bird as it flew above them. The bird tittered a laugh as the grass tickled its sides, then it soared upwards again. The bird sang, and the trees sighed. And then, the bird grew tired. It looked at the oceans and decided they were too rough and consuming. It considered the mountains, but their razor teeth were too sharp and foreboding. The clouds, once sweet and soft, had turned dark and worrying.
And then there were the trees. Tall and strong, they straddled the space between Earth and Sky. Their leafy heads created a shelter from the thundering clouds, and their branches reached out to the bird, beckoning it closer. The bird settled on a branch and the leaves rustled with pleasure. The bird sang again, a clear song of threaded notes that knit themselves into the wind and the grass and the ocean and the mountains. And the tree sighed no more. And the Creator could rest.