Slowly like pollen on the breeze, and with the same merciless indifference towards its infected victims, it moved across the world… from empoverished Asia to wealthy Europe…. until eventually like a King Midas of epidemics it reached out and touched a bird of prey on our native shores. And more followed, including a bunch of suspicious ducks. The sacrifices are but few amongst countless, and on their own no greater tragedy than any other. Yet it casts a shadow into a place, which so far have been free of it.
There is of course no reason why this place should remain untouched while others equally innocent and defenseless battle it as best they can. And there is no valid claim to support any hope that we might be luckier or wiser than anyone else. As tempting as it may sound no protective wall or spell can be cast around us to keep out this advancing death. It is within our midst… and perhaps within us too.
… be observant and on guard. Stay clear and keep your pets away. Close your doors and rid the world of whatever evidence you find. Cover yourself in plastic, pick it up, bag and burn it. Comb the beaches and gather every trace. Trials are symbolic and only for those who are most likely to be convicted. The rest we pretend to presume innocent … yet nonetheless treat as guilty. Just in case.
Right now, we do this to dead birds. Scattered wildlife just doing its best to survive an unusually hard winter. At least that is what we like to tell ourselves, isn’t it? That we only do this as a precaution… to birds who are already dead… we just wish to protect ourselves, our pets and livestock… our way of life. A noble thought and act indeed… and a wise one, when it comes to such things.
But it is more than that, isn’t it? It isn’t just the estranged birds on the beaches we dress up in space suits to discard and condemn. It is the stranger on the street on a dark night. And those who look different from us… and have different ways and values. Those too we wish to scrutinize when they gather in flocks… Those too we wish to protect ourselves against, in case they too carry an “epidemic” of thoughts we do not approve of. For they too are within our midst… like another bunch of suspicious ducks.
We may not bear the disease, and Mercy be willing, no one shall have… but we carry the symptoms. Which arm or which leg do we gnaw off first to save ourselves? And if even that is not enough… do we then cut out our own hearts to keep them safe and pure?
Be careful of suspicious ducks… and of yourself…