Thursday, July 16, 2009


I saw it coming toward me through the air, too fast for me to duck. I heard and felt it whiz past my ear. Was it as surprised as I? Pondering the flies around the birdhouse, I had been sitting still on the swing for a long time. I followed it with binoculars to the cherry tree branch where it perched behind and above me after its terrifying whir past my neck. It was a chubby fuzzy fledgling mockingbird, with tail not yet fully long but already distinctively enough marked for positive ID.

I love fledglings b/c they don't know yet to be wary of me, that is, of humans. They need not be afraid of me, but they don't know that either. This one allowed close approach, eliminating the need for binoculars. We looked each other in the eye. I tired of the game before he did and returned to the swing to wonder.

As young animals mature and develop caution of creatures like me, is it because they have memory, or is it instinct? Will this mockingbird remember our stare-down? Will his mother warn him to be more careful? Did that centipede remember the towel in the bathroom, or did he avoid it by instinct?

A pale thin crescent moon lingers in an eerie pastel sky at 11:00 a.m. The sun has burned off the clouds, the day is already uncomfortably warm. Be safe, scrawny house wrens with flies buzzing around your house. Until tomorrow. dkm

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