willywagtail birdThe woman looked up from her coffee and squinted out across the rows of swimmers. Their limbs a constant whirr of motion, churning the water into a starburst of yellows and whites that hurt to look at. On the far corner of the change room shed, a tiny black and white bird flitted back and forth. It briefly alighted on the roof before startling and taking off into the air again. The woman watched, transfixed by this twitching bundle of energy as her coffee sat cooling and forgotten. The bird’s movements slowed and stilled, as if waiting for a cue from some invisible conductor. It adjusted its stance, thrust out its white breast and began to sing in a fluting, high pitched voice. The woman shivered involuntarily as the song burrowed its way inside her, somewhere deep and forgotten. She searched the faces of the parents in the stands but everywhere eyes were down, fingers tapping out secret code, faces oblivious. The woman turned back to the song and tried to commit it to memory; this magic fashioned to coax buds from the trees and charm the breeze into warming its breath.