The man stirred the soil with the pitchfork and turned over the clump which fell apart, revealing larvae and earthworms. – Do you see how life blooms everywhere in spring? Isn’t it beautiful? – he said to his son.
– Yes ... – he timidly replied. – What are those big things?
– Beetle larvae. They may reach a length of four centimeters at the end of April. They live in the wet soil of the rhizosphere, feeding on roots. They need a really wet soil to grow. Their natural predators are moles – he said as he carefully put the worms back in the soil so that they could keep on sleeping.
– You know a lot of things. You must really love nature – said the child with the tone of someone who pretends he’s not aware he is making a compliment.
– That’s true. Nature is full of surprises, questions, answers and miracles. – The father lifted the child on his shoulders and, pointing above, he whispered: – Do you see that little bird up there? Do you hear how loud it sings? It’s a song thrush. In this time of the year his singing attracts a lot of other specimens.
– As if they were talking? – the boy asked.
– They speak the language of birds, which we cannot understand. When God created them he made them speak their own language, and we ours. But to us he gave intelligence and curiosity, in order to know and understand their world. – As soon as he finished speaking, another thrush landed on a branch near the first one. The man took the child off his shoulders and together they hid behind a bush, so as not to disturb the approach of the second bird to the first one.
– Look – the father said, – it is another male approaching. He is attracted by the singing of the first bird. If it were a female I would say she is falling in love, but the male is hostile.
The child had not even realized he was holding his breath when he saw the second bird hop, draw near the first and then suddenly start flapping his wings without being able to detach from the branch. – Come! – said the father, running out of the bush and towards the birds.
– What did I tell you last night?!
The man got closer to the animal and detached his body from the branch, which came off with difficulty, producing viscous filaments of glue mixed with feathers, then he passed him to his son.
– Once blinded, the male becomes an excellent singer – said the man – and attracts other birds. By singing in his cage he fascinates them and they land on the trunk, where they get stuck. Now you try this time – the man said, handing him a pin he had stuck in his belt loop. The child, gently guided by his father, enucleated the black eyes of the small animal, which opposed the invincible grip of that small hand with all his energies. – They look like two black pearls full of water – the boy observed.
– But doesn’t it hurt?
– No – said the father, putting the blind bird in a plastic cage fixed with brown tape. – Now we have to catch some of those worms I showed you before.
– That’s disgusting… Why? – asked his son, wiping his hands on his chest.
– Because cut into pieces and crushed in a mortar they are the perfect diet for your thrush. They have a lot of proteins and they will help him recover from the operation – said the man ruffling his son’s hair and walking to the car. – And tomorrow you’ll already hear your thrush sing.