Throughout the day, around town, I heard the birds.
I'm sure Olivier Messaien, the composer who collected and reveled in bird calls, would have considered this the most sublime music.
Late in the afternoon I visited the notorious killing fields and the genocide museum, housed in the former detention barracks. As I meditated on the horrors I wondered about the birds, back then. In 1975, when Phnom Penh was forcibly evacuated in a matter of hours, did the city birds take notice?
And the birds at the killing fields: did they have any awareness of what was happening in their midst? Did they hear the screams and cries, or just go about their bird lives, singing their bird songs in blissful ignorance?
I know that birds grieve for their own. Do they grieve for us?