Four billion years of life-force were crammed into its little body. As it hopped in front of us with green-feathered prettiness, the fledgling great-tit seemed to have no clear idea of what to do with any of it.
Too young to fly properly, too confident to feel fear, it bobbed and turned as we watched. It was a bird acting the part, in a world where simulation is never enough.
We continued with our afternoon walk – an initial stroll to the edge of Dartmoor, up to Hay Tor.
An hour later we walked back down the narrow lane with its high-sided hedges. We were pressed into spiky greenery by a prowling silver Jaguar, the width of the road. Even then, I noted the thickness of its road-slick tyres.
Clare was looking as we approached the hotel but I was the one who spotted the two-dimensional press-out on the roadway. Clare said it was the legs and feet which were the giveaway, somehow shape and texture were perfectly preserved.
Some would say evolution in action, but the world can be harsh to the perplexed and indecisive.
Afterword: we drove up that lane today, but a night of heavy rain has washed away all traces.