Of all the world’s inhabitants I’ve fallen in love with recently, I fell hardest for the song sparrow.

Its melody relieved the early days of Covid, and it kept singing until the dry days of August parched its tiny voice.

It built a nest in the giant heap of cut-down branches. Quite the fortress, you’d think.

One day, I heard a kerfuffle going on over there. Rustling and yapping, squeaks and snaps.

Out of the brush pile sprinted a squirrel, chased, like fighter jets on a mission, by my sparrow and its spouse.

And in the squirrel’s mouth a baby bird.

Now, I told you I’d fallen for this this tweety chappie. So I was enraged by the squirrel’s obscene theft.

I jumped, bellowing and running, waving my arms like a baboon, up the hill after the squirrel, which parked itself behind the old outhouse.

We stopped and looked at each other. Me, middle-aged and halfway up a mountain. The squirrel, on a 2×4, baby bird in mouth…

… thinking maybe, what the hell are you doing? This is my lunch!