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Serene

I spotted it in the extraordinarilly lovely hospice gardens. Yesterday there was a fox cub on the little mini-hill outside his room, and today, while they were bathing him - my friend, not the cub - I explored the grounds a little. There's a sort of wild spot, with a pond and fish and lilies and a strange, occasionally turning, series of metal rectangular sculptures. And there was the heron.

It surely goes there for the koi though not today; today it stood there, rapt and still, not seeming to concentrate on any of the motion below it, as though it was dreaming. There was the sun and there was the water and there were feverfew daisies beyond us, and back that way were the exquisite roses overwhelming the path with scent. But it was so still. Even the plane passing was too far away to hear.

I wonder if this is how our deaths would appear to anyone watching, really watching.

The fish don't seem aware of death so close to them, though I saw one looking very wary, hiding under a lily leaf. The heron may not need a thing, it may not do anything, but there comes a time when it does, and then it's a reaper. It stares, waits, bides its time, moves...and all's done, quick,quick. And before, it's peaceful, and after, it's peaceful.

It's not an appropriate metaphor, I think my friend is struggling more than any koi before the heron's strike. No stillness followed by the end moment, no suddenness about it, the whole thing is telegraphed, and a procession of friends and well wishers come by to visit him. I honestly do not know which is better; to fall suddenly or to fade. I guess we are lucky to just have a fine day.

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