FRANCIS OF ASSISI

 “Don’t say that to my son,” my father meddles, “you can’t talk that way to children.” The homeless man slowly turns to face my dad and makes huge dirty fists. They stand opposite each other; the bum is taller than my dad, with broader shoulders. If he charges my dad and kills him what will happen to me? I want to run home to my mother. “Sorry, my fault,” the man apologizes. Then he steps away, sits on a log and starts smoking.

Not far from us, a grey heron stands in the water on thin legs. Occasionally bending down, it pierces the water with its sharp beak and pulls something out. Another black heron stands at some distance from it. It occasionally happens that the black heron breaks off from its spot and flies in our direction, but the grey one fly with a scream “to intercept” asserting its ownership. Every time we are here I observe this scene—the war of two herons.

 “Ooo! Yoo!” Suddenly the homeless man stands up and yells, raising and extending his arms forward. Either he is singing or he is laughing. A flock of ducks, sea gulls, and herons fly off at once from the opposite shore towards him. The birds know that now they will be fed. Continuing to sing and laugh, the man takes out bread from his pocket, rips it apart into pieces, and throws to the birds.

I see a cat emerging from the bushes! A wild striped cat runs towards the tramp jumping across the fallen branches and puddles. The cat gets on his hind paws and presses against the tramp’s legs with his front paws. Then he dances on his hind paws. The tramp grabs the cat by the neck, picks him up and … kisses its mug.

How terrifying!

It is so beautiful here at the salt marsh! The sky is high and so is the grass, as if plated in gold by the sun; the bay water gleams in such delicate shades that it’s hard to put into words. If I did not wish to be a fisherman, I would definitely have become a painter.

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