This morning I was fortunate enough to see my second rare bird this spring. On the Trans Canada Trail I came upon a Turkey Vulture! First I walked through an unusual wall of agitated crow racket. I managed to be about 30-40 feet from the bird who wasn’t very shy. Unfortunately all I have is the camera on my phone so the images aren’t great. I’m always grateful for small events like this.
On March 30th a Red-Bellied Woodpecker lingered in the trees in our backyard. Another very rare bird for our parts. Soon it may be time for a new camera.
We find. Grip and squeeze. Paint our faces dance
grow feathers and fly. Preoccupy. Become.
Sound of saltwater licking dark stone,
bleached white roots and branch. Drift and sway.
Skin shed. Antlers dropped damp and spotted green.
Rusty spikes. Tin cans, porcelain shards and bottles.
That drawing on the wall. This poem.
These words. Beach-glass and broken shell strung
on fishing line or binder twine and worn
around the neck
for one meteor-showered moment.
I came upon this large cocoon on the trail. It’s about the size of a fist. Some quick research points to Hyalophora Cecropia, North America’s largest native moth. Apparently these giant beauties are designed to reproduce, and only live for about 2 weeks.*
These are the birds I saw inside of a couple of hours: Mourning Doves, Blue Jays, Common Grackles, Juncos, Gold Finches, Robins, Eagles, Osprey, Double Crested Cormorant, Blue Heron, Hooded Merganser, Green-winged Teal, Crows, Raven, Song Sparrows, White Throated Sparrow (heard), Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker (heard), Red-winged Blackbird, Chickadees, Black Duck, Belted Kingfishers… one hawk to high to make out and no doubt a few I’m forgetting.
South wind 30, gusting to 50 kilometres an hour.
Seems like poetry to me.
Dead on the path; crow’s change.
Young eagle waits and the wind
Spirit-led to harbour seal
skull and bones. Bury them
Feathers and matted fur. Leaf spirals.
Layer upon layer
of Sufi veils. Sudden God
then some more.
Desire, sly trapper
sets bait, loops the snare. Stop.
Just turn around.
On east veranda
with T’ao Ch’ien. Breath chants
a quiet return.*
* David Hinton, Mountain Home
I am an orphan now, she said
sitting down beside me.
In Islam, mother comes first
second and third. Then father.
I asked her forgiveness
for changing faith. Our daughter
wrote a long letter.
She never understood.
Worried. But laughed. My goodness
there is nothing to forgive.
She sips her morning
coffee, wonders what people
are saying, thinking
while the dappled mare
watches him arrive,
disappear down the trail.
Staring at boulders
settled in a narrow stream
black and moss covered;
he imagines being gone
returns to crows chasing
sharp-shinned hawk. Grouse beating
love me on a feathered drum.
Just another breath;
The trailing smoke of a candle.