“Feeding the Birds,” by Margaret Hetherman, is the winner of the Columbia Journal‘s Special Issue on Loneliness in the art category.
Coming upon the scene, I instinctively took the camera; later, I grappled with whether doing so had been invasive. The image shows a homeless man with birds in flight just after he tosses pieces of bread for them to eat. Solitary, but in winged company for a few moments. Off screen, his laughs sounds something close to bliss. The subtlety of a passing stranger can be seen in the shadow to his left. He appears abandoned. Discarded. Alone. But is he unhappy?