Saturday, November 18, 2006


As I split some oak on a calm, clear afternoon with winter chilling closer each day, a warbler watches from behind the bright red berries of the heavenly bamboo. He is at this altitude for the brief time that the lowering temperatures are just right, and will follow the temperature to the lowlands.

Bouncing this way and that, he turns his tiny head in every direction he can with his eye on me, the better to gain some varied perspective on the bizarre behavior exhibited by this other two-legged creature and the mystery he represents to birdhood.

As I work my axe and maul and wedges, lifting and splitting pieces of trees, I wonder what warbly thoughts there might be in that bright feathered head about what I'm doing-- perhaps he is puzzled by my lack of wings or my knees that oddly bend forward, or maybe my pitiful attempts at warblerlike whistling, that falls so far short of the silky glissandos of his own glorious songs— perhaps my featherless need for firewood intrigues him, or my constant manipulation of tools, to the great detriment of bug and berry harvesting— why not just move to more hospitable places, eating as I go, as he does—

Enough pondering the imponderable-- he flies off, a wisp of me flies with him...


christy lee-engel said...

...and wisps of him will always wink and hop here in these words and in your readers

thanks very much for your keen contemplations and delicate observations, feet right on the ground and imagination large as the sky

on a quiet night in seattle

Tabor said...

I had a hedge of nandina outside my deck in my old house and loved the red berried each holidy season. I would cut sprays of them and bring them inside. The warblers probably understood that.

Anonymous said...

I meant to mention to you yesterday how beautiful a picture this is. I love the red berries against the dark green; as both red and green are my favorite colors year round.