My attention was fixed elsewhere when the plane fell in my backyard. I was busy in my study, examining the carcass of a wasp with a new microscope I bought off Amazon. The wasp had died in the space between the screen and the window sill. The yellow sun was shining on the yellow paint of my bedroom walls. And there it was, dead as a doornail, calling to me.
I was halfway between the thorax and the abdomen, examining the membranous folds of its wings, when the plane fell. I didn’t hear a thing. Not because it didn’t make a sound, but because my headphones were in and my music was blaring in my ears. If a plane falls in your backyard and you’re not around to hear it, does it still make a sound? The answer is an unequivocal yes. My neighbor, Mrs. Raspberry, will corroborate.
It was eleven AM when I went downstairs, headphones still in, to fetch a cup of coffee. The sight of the plane did not startle me, although I did think of Chicken Little. There were flames and distant sirens and baffled neighbors holding their arms above their heads like sit-ups. But I suppose I was more disturbed by the fact that the crash had maimed from the oak tree in my yard, a single branch upon which a bird’s nest had sat, with its fresh little chickadees chirp chirp chirping all day, serenading me. And now they were dead.