Thursday, June 18, 2015

Birdwalking in the Bush

In the mornings, birds fill the air, their lithe bodies swirling in the sky and songs ferried by the wind.

I stand, morning coffee cup in hand, and drink in the scene. Swallows with their split tails zoom overhead, occasionally lighting on a roof peak or the flag pole top. This morning, one alights on the flag pole top and lets loose a feather it had carried in its beak; this gift lands at my feet. A flock of birds similar to seagulls--minus the characteristic cry--circle high overhead, their flight suggesting concentric rings of water radiating from a disturbed surface. Mourning doves coo from their perches on telephone lines. Huge robins spar over something unbeknownst to me. A hungry owl squawks from somewhere in the trees. All the while, the wind's susurration whispers today's plan in my ear: it begins with a morning dogwalk down the gravel road in front of the house.

From the sloughs along the road, various duck breeds, red-winged blackbirds, yellow-headed blackbirds, killdeers, and starlings will abandon their posts as we pass. Some will cry alarms. The quacking of mallards and splash of water as they fly will attract the attention of Phoebe, the olden golden retriever, whose body freezes and ears open to catch the sound. She seems to instinctively recall her breeding and the job associated with it, and I will have to wrestle her away from the stagnant water of the ditch. Rugrat will scent invisible quarry from tall grasses and dive into the undergrowth, limited by the leash. She will emerge from the grasses unfazed and trot beside us as we continue our perambulation.

The life awaiting me outside the house beckons, and it's time to get out of my head to answer the call.

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