Wash your hands before dinner, Mother always said.

The soul-eyed Otter washes its face in the stream.

Fluttering, the bird let the water drip through its feathers, taking a bath…

Wash your hands before dinner, Mother always said.

But I’ve seen Sparrows and Wrens go mad in the dirt (dust rising) a different kind of bath.

Rain cleanses the earth, sometimes with a vengeance.

Wash your hands before dinner, Mother always said.

And a Crow will break nuts with a rock or a passing car tire.

All birds preen.

Wash your hands before dinner, Mother always said.