Is It Safe?
Author: Carrie Francis
Written in response to Ernest Zobole, ‘Looking Out of Window in Winter’ (1980s)
University of South Wales Art Collection Museum
It doesn’t feel particularly sturdy, and whilst I could just take off and leave it at that, Mama assures me it’s safe and actually rather fun. The white stuff crunches even under my meagre weight, the tips of my wings brushing the surface as I attempt to steady myself. Flapping wings sound above me and I see Mama landing next to me.
‘You’re still worrying about it? Just go already!’
‘Are you sure this is safe?’
‘I do it every time the white stuff comes, and so does everyone here. It’s perfectly safe!’
I look around to see my friends and siblings all doing it, black feathers racing down the white slope, and they are cawing and cackling with laughter. Surely it cannot be that much fun? They’re throwing themselves down the slope, they could hurt themselves, but they keep coming back for more! The cold must be getting to them!
By the time I realise Mama has pushed me, I am sliding face-first, screaming. Cold air rushes past me and I am at the edge, heading straight towards a large pile of the white stuff behind the humans’ nest. A sibling allows herself to crash into it but I stop myself just short, flapping my wings furiously. It takes a moment to recognise the euphoria coursing through me, even longer to realise I had gone back to try again.
My own laughter joins the elated chorus as I merrily roll and tumble down the white stuff.
Mama is smiling.