I rushed home for the holidays, and found this toy among some things my mother had unearthed from who-knows-where. I loved this bird; I still do. We bought it, I think, when my father had a job at a seaside town for a few weeks. When you’re a young girl of a certain age, everything is busy—your clothes, your toys, other people’s expectations, all gaudy and clashing. This was, and is, so simple: a few pieces of plastic and wood held together with fishing line. The wings rock gently and you can almost feel the air currents gliding by. A good reminder, on the eve of a new year and the close of a troubled one.