Thursday, 27 April 2017

Spring Nights On Air

Coming home over the marshes with the taste of violet on my tongue, the sun glanced off the grey clouds, golden. Everything was fresh and strong after the thunderstorm, and the frogs and blackbirds loud, loud. Last week I ate violets too, but already the lilies-of-the-valley have overtaken them. Things move fast here in the forest, and if you don't keep up you can miss them.

I live in the downtown of a mid-sized Canadian city. The park near my house is part of a water treatment plant, and the marsh with all its glory of bird song is carefully managed by city staff, who cull the buckthorn and build nesting sites for the turtles. The highway is never out of earshot. Dogs run through the trees, and coyotes. The careful prints of deer are clear in the spring mud. This is where I live, and it is beautiful.

Twilight settles in as I sit down to write. The clouds turn gossamer pink, and the last true light glows on  wooden beams and vinyl siding. A turkey vulture soars up over the apartment building next door. From the window of my townhouse I have seen jays tracing each other's footsteps across the air, and heard flickers calling across the cold, clear nights of early spring.

There was an eagle over the water today, a big one. Crows were forcing it down out of the sky, and then up over the treetops, until it vanished somewhere beyond the hospital. It may have been a young golden eagle, going north. Down by the water I've watched grackles hassling crows, and crows hassling hawks, and once, an osprey touch the lake's surface with sure and deadly grace. The ducks are all tame here, but the geese are wild, wild as their great voices echoing ragged through the wood.

Am I at home in the world? I have come to wish it so. But no one is ever at home in springtime. There's always something better coming- you can feel it in the air. Best to linger, and then get home fast.

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