We were still close to the shore when a big bird glided above our heads.
“But that’s Medard! Medard the Eagle!” Margot became excited.
“He’s my friend. Let’s say hello to him.”
“Hi Medard,” she cried.
The bird flew down.
“Greetings, Margot. What brings you to these dangerous waters?”
“I’m travelling with my friends. This is Atli and Lupin.”
“Hello Medard,” we said in unison.
“Nice to meet you.”
“How are you, Medard?” Margot asked.
“I’d be lying if I simply said ‘good’. The world is changing, friends. And I’m afraid that we won’t be able to change along with it ...” he said bitterly. “Not this time.”
We didn’t have to ask him anything, as it was clear that he had more to say.
“This change is unnatural. It’s too fast and difficult for us. Everything starts on the mainland,” he turned his head and focused his bright eyes on the shore. “That’s where it starts.”
“But what, Medard?” Margot interrupted him.
“Our destruction. Those upright creatures ... It looks like they’ve created a strange bait, aiming to kill us all off. We think we’re going to have a tasty snack when eating one of those colourful balls or small fragments. Bigger fish are amazed how easily they can catch jellyfish. But it’s not jellyfish. It’s trash that those bipeds throw into the water.”
“Trash?” I was surprised, recalling Dad’s slow and painful death. How he was surrounded by those colourful “jellyfish”.
“Yes. I watched them. They carry it with them, drink or eat from it, and then they throw it away. Either right in the water or on the ground. In the cities, in the woods, in the meadows. But then it rains, or the wind blows, and everything ends up on the beach or in the water. There are no borders and the ocean is like a big magnet.
“Those less clever of us birds, go straight after it. We tell them to be careful. But they can’t distinguish food from the deadly indigestible pieces of trash discarded by those upright creatures. Millions of birds have died. Usually, because they’ve eaten something bad and it kills them from inside. I’ve seen a few birds die like that. It’s a slow and painful death.”
“Just like my dad,” I was thinking aloud.
“I told you! I told you!” Margot got angry. “But who listens to a silly fish, right? It sounds much better coming from an Eagle!”
“Be quiet, Margot!” Medard said impatiently. “The truth is that we’re all involved in it. The muck disintegrates in the water and everyone eats it. Even you, Margot, and your friends,” he looked at us.
“Including me, because I eat fish,” he paused, watching our terrified faces.
“I don’t understand them, those bipeds ... They love our meat and can’t get enough of it. Why do they spoil their own food? It’s like me adding hard stones to my food on purpose.”
“I don’t even plan on having offspring... What would I feed them? Indigestible muck from those strange creatures? They’d surely thank me for that!”
I wondered whether the Eagle knew about the situation in the oceans, but Margot immediately turned her thoughts into action.
“But that’s not all, Medard,” she said.
“What do you mean?”
We told him about our experience and encounters on our journey – Sharks without fins, melting floes for Walruses, black sticky Killer Whales, as well as the death of our family members.
Medard bowed his head, his eyes sad. A raindrop fell on his beak and then it started to rain.
“My grandpa always talked about balance. ‘Hunt only as much you need, Medard, and never leave any left-overs,’ he used to say. Nature will take care of the rest.”
“But this is too much even for Nature,” he shook his head. “I wish you well, friends. Take care.”
And he flew off.