One way or the other


Illustration by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson

“Isn’t life such a dream nowadays,” commented a small toucan rhetorically to a larger one as they sat on a branch of a genip tree, baking themselves in the early morning sun, having stuffed themselves with large quantities of the delicious genipap fruit. “I mean, now with the humans gone, everything is so much quieter, so much safer. You can feel the air is fresher when it gently touches your beak as it moves about the wetlands. We’ve seen an end to all that inhumane human destruction. The deforestation has come to a halt. It’s like true nature has returned.”

“I must say I don’t see the world so lyrically,” the larger toucan replied in its usual calm and melancholic voice. “I don’t see it makes an awful lot of difference.”

“No? How come?”

“You see that jaguar down there among the lower branches?“ the larger toucan asked without any discernible change in tone. “Carefully making its way toward us?”

“My god, yes,” shrieked the smaller bird, letting go of the branch, hovering up in the air and flying over to the crown of the next tree, where it settled down again.

“Well,” said the the larger toucan after joining the smaller one at its new location. “Next time, it’s not that unlikely you won’t. You’ll be an easy prey for that hungry cat.”

The smaller bird did not reply, remained uncharacterically silent, staring into the distance.

“One way or the other,” the larger toucan continued. “Humans or no humans. It’s all the same. We eat. We are eaten. That’s true nature for you.”