Field Notes: Late Summer 2022
My amended reply
“Did you meet anyone?” my beloved asked when Asha and I returned from our walk along the river.
“No,” I replied. Then I amended my answer, “Well, Gray Catbirds and American Crows. And I was excited about a yellow bird who turned out to be a leaf.”
I recognize so many human voices, why not bird voices? I wonder as Asha and I walk toward the beaver meadow.
In the past I’ve attributed this challenge to my not having a good ear. But today I have a feeling there’s more to it than that.
Is it because I don’t usually see the bird and can’t make a connection between the vocalist and the sound?
Yet I can recognize people I’ve only spoken with on the phone and haven’t met in person.
Is it that most birds have multiple songs and calls?
But I can understand thousands of words in several human languages.
Or that several birds are often singing at once?
Hmmm. But I can pick out my beloved’s voice in a crowded space.
Is it because I assign meaning to human words?
Now I feel like I’m getting somewhere.
Is it because I wasn’t taught to value – and pay attention to – birds’ communication?
Ah, there it is.
Looking out. Looking in.
I sit on mossy rocks at the edge of a gulch looking out at tree-covered hills in the foreground and blue-gray hills in the distance. I chose to walk here today because I hoped this expansive view would open up some ideas about a writing project.
My thoughts move through time and space. They linger on a photograph taken on a family trip when I was two or three years old. My sister and I sit in a meadow bordered by conifers, snow-capped Himalayas rising beyond us. Then they meander among daily mountain views throughout my childhood in the Himalayan foothills. And take me to the Adirondacks during the years my family lived in the States.
Instead of project ideas opening, I have expanded inward – and I leave these rocks and soft, green hills grounded and rooted, knowing, beyond words, that hills and mountains have shaped me.
Palmate instead of red
A dry maple leaf suspended
above the trail
by shimmering threads
I slow to stillness
Then slip below the web
leaving the skillful work undisturbed
— a weaver’s wordless stop sign.
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Summer 2022 – For the beauty of this walk; Woodpecker rhythm; Elliptic-leaved Shinleaf; The service I want to honor
Spring 2022 – Wings; Pink joy of spring; Wondering: One walk, one afternoon; A new-to-us trail; Companions after a sleepless night
Winter 2021/2022 – Breadcrumbs; But then, so when, and then; Winter visitors; My inner three-year-old meets ice; Tender hope, holy beauty
Late Fall 2021 – I almost said; Letter to myself after reading Hafiz; First snow
Fall 2021 – Second annual Gentian Day; Sitting with Tea and Tang; Eyes-closed listening; Not alone: Companions in the woods; Learning a new language: Then and now
Summer 2021 – Stretching lessons; No stepping stones; A red-feathered lesson in priorities