willywagtail birdThe woman looked up from her book and shielded her eyes against the harsh afternoon light.

Rows of swimmers churned up and down the pool, their angled limbs shattering the water into a starburst of yellows and whites that hurt to look at. Past the swimmers, on the corner of the change room shed, a tiny black and white bird darted back and forth. She sat mesmerised, watching as the bird alighted on the roof before startling and taking off into the air again.

Eventually, the movements dwindled and stilled, as if the bird was waiting, watching for a cue from an invisible conductor. After final preparations, it adjusted its stance and sang in a lilting, high pitched voice. The song drifted on the breeze, brushing momentarily against her cheek before burrowing its way inside, somewhere deep and forgotten.

The woman shivered and searched the faces in the concrete stand for a fellow witness. But everywhere eyes were down, fingers tapping secret code, faces oblivious. She smiled and turned back to the song; to this magic fashioned to coax buds from the trees and to charm the breeze into warming its breath.