A tiny child loves a small square of paper grown winged, folded in secret and left as a surprise.

A tiny child in an airport marvels at flight fitted to the palm, lofted by a swooping twirl. A tiny child will, if coaxed by her father, offer in shyness an abstract image of gratitude, markered in pink and aqua and gold and brown, and will retreat to her side of the waiting area where you are both stranded.

Two tiny children on a night train to Scotland will fret their mother, will bring down on their bored selves a torrent of blame, will go wide-eyed when your fingers make the last tug and produce two cranes as your bright-lit car hurtles past Durham near midnight. Two tiny children will make four in the night glass, four children, four birds, migrating north up the dark coast in a hush of paper.

Two tiny children will be so taken with the magic of fast folds that they will lose the capacity for speech, will pocket their birds and finger them secretly, will wave goodbye to the winking lady who drives away into the sticky summer heat, leaving their aunt's house after proffering little gifts.

And you will wonder why you do this each time, what makes the signal that this particular tiny child needs a bird. You will hear a father teaching his daughter how not to crumple the bird, and you will know again how ephemeral these things are. You will hope that something survives those moments' swift flights.

source for today's image: a site for Understanding the Work of Nurse Theorists.