Morning came through the gaps in the curtains. Bittersweet light. Wendell looked out his window, watching sparrows. Particle counters at several nuclear plants on the sunward side of the planet began to trace a slow climb. Wendell was trying to find a pair of socks that matched. The sparrows were agitated, and he needed to fill the bird feeder. Like many others that day, he was preoccupied with his morning routine. The birds are nearly always the first to respond, anyway. It was too soon for people to notice. Wendell settled on one navy sock and one black sock. He pulled on his sneakers, grabbed the birdseed and headed outside. Wendell emptied several scoops of seed into the feeder, then stepped back and smiled as he heard chickadees twitter excitedly in nearby trees.
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