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Blossoms of Estrangement

Click-clack. Click-clack. Hundreds, no thousands of hurrying feet walk the gray streets of the restless city. Together yet always alone, they march on the cold pavement. And they never stop, the people. Why should they?

Every day, at the exact same time, they are out there, the people, walking in one big organized chaos, a determined expression on their earnest faces. There is a sense of urgency in their swift movements as they make their way to meaningless destinations. Deep in thought and sorrow, their persistent feet insist on carrying them blindly to the same familiar places, without so much as bothering to ask for their permission or leaving them much choice. This is where they belong and this is where they’ll be taken to.

They flood the streets, the people, never too far away from one another, never too close. It’s as if some complex mechanism the eye simply cannot behold is pushing them forward, guiding them on a previously defined default mode. A flying sparrow looks down at the city. It is rush hour and the puzzled bird mistakes the unquiet people below, as it usually does, for some foreign flock. A flock of migrating humans who are always on the go, running around in indecipherable circles only to end up where they had started. With tired eyes, they stare blankly at the distant city line—nothing more than metal, glass and rock—as it cages all those aging hopes from which they cannot part. Nature wants nothing more than to break free, but there isn’t a place for it in this crowded city, where each remaining space is reserved for another building, another road, another mall. Left with no other choice, nature spreads between the people like a wildfire, aching to burn everything in sight; aching to release the world from the cement the people had forced upon it. But the people can’t see it, nor enjoy its beauty. This secretive urban nature; this dormant confounded nature is colorless, odorless, useless.

They are all connected, the people. The unseen, unheard, unfelt nature is always between them, patiently residing in those measured gaps forever separating them from one another. It sends its tangled treeless branches, stretching invisibly in all directions, and envelopes them in their oblivion. But the people are too proud, too stubborn and far too busy to realize they are the wilderness. Tender white blossoms of estrangement adorn those treeless branches, swirling up in the suffocating air and reaching the hollow hearts of the people. No bird nor skies above can overlook the hostility who obediently follows the human lords beneath, biting whoever attempts to come near.

They seem so united to the sparrow, so much alike as they fill the streets of the treacherous city, yet they are blind to their similarities—to them, only the differences count. Together yet always alone, the people feed on the rotten fruits of hatred and fear, of mistrusting smiles and gracious gestures, mocking any nice word coming their way. Because there isn’t any good left and nothing, nothing could convince them otherwise. Hunters will be hunters and prey will be prey. The sun will keep on shining and they will keep on dying.

Their eyes never meet, their hands never touch, their prayers never answered and their lives never lived, not really. All they can do is walk further ahead, letting their feet lead the lonely way. With no wishes left in their hearts and no home to their dreams, they join the faceless crowd, hoping to find refuge in anonymity.

But the bird can still see them as it flies in the endless skies, forever searching the flock that had abandoned it. It soars, it dives, and it glides, silently piercing the dirty smog which hovers above the city and trying to make sense of where it is going, of where the flock of migrating humans is going. And the faces attached to the click-clacking feet down there are always sad, scared, or nervous. What a strange, strange flock! It will never understand it: lonesome human-birds who choose to be lonely even though their flock is right there. What is wrong with them? Do they even know how horrible it is to live a flockless life? Without its flock, there is no direction; there is no home. So the little gentle sparrow never dares to leave the skies for too long, no matter how tired it is; no matter how much it wants to feel the earth beneath its feet. The cement world below is far too dangerous. They, the people, had abandoned nature just like its flock had abandoned it—for each disappointment they’ve had, they pour more cement, distancing themselves even further from the wilderness, from who they really are.

The skies are no place for a human-bird and the earth is no place for a sparrow. A cold wind carries the bird north east, away from the city, away from the flock of humans it will never belong to. It sighs and disappears behind the dark dark clouds. Maybe its flock is waiting for it on the other side of the clouds, on the other side of the blue. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe never.

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