Black bellied whistling ducks line the opposite shore of the pond behind the house. They're chatty birds who like to fuss and argue amongst themselves. They often lose track of the pair of alligators eyeing them from the deeper water. One of the ducks is supposed to always be on watch, but when hierarchy fights erupt, the look-out bird gets involved. Once in a great while, a gator gets duck for breakfast.
It's lightning fast and terrible to witness. Dreadful to hear. The caught bird is killed instantly, but there's a lot of snapping and crunching involved while the remainder of the flock screams.
On this side of the pond, the alligators take a different form. They wear white coats and read numbers from gleaming computer screens. Stage three this. Acute that. Denial feels like a flimsy shield, but who among us dares to point that out? So we keep busy on our side of the pond, where we watch the ducks and they watch us. We acknowledge that one of our party keeps drifting closer to death's pointy-toothed grin. But we keep busy. Maybe if we keep moving we can confuse the specter creeping up on us and death, when he comes calling, will miss his grab and leave empty-handed and resentful yet again.
Or maybe, this harvest season, he won't.