Desire, expectation, and surprise

Autumn Afternoon

A startled flock of coots.
At once a chorus!  Wing beats rise upon the reservoir, soft like a stadium full of children wearing mittens.

I close my eyes. Can you pretend it’s angels clapping? 

(October 29, 2011)

I find this in my journal and decide to return to the reservoir this morning to snap a quick photo to illustrate my words so I can get back to today’s real task of beginning that novel I will write in a month.

An overcast sky creates a muted light, fitting for this day-after-Halloween hush hanging palpable as the clouds. We pass a few smashed pumpkins and I pick up empty Three Musketeers, Peanut M&M and Snickers wrappers that I find littered along the way.  They crinkle now when I reach into my pocket to grab the camera before we crest the ridge to the reservoir overlook.

Chester pulls on his leash. He’s not used to being confined out here but I don’t want him to  dash into the water and scare the coots like last time before I can focus on:

Four unruffled ducks, utterly unconcerned about our arrival.  Aren’t I a lame one. I should have known better than to expect a repeat performance from something as serendipitous as an entire resting flock of coots which flapped away to my poetic enjoyment.

I give myself permission to skip writing a post today and decide to return quickly home when streak of white flashes on the far shore.

A heron! I’ll admit, I thought it was crane until I got home and learned that cranes fly with necks extended, while herons fly with necks held in a crook. Somehow I find great comfort in knowing that nature allows, in her wisdom for diversity, for both those who stretch as far as they are able in every single flight and those who keep their reach a little closer to their hearts each time they glide.

There in the distance are more herons, an egret, and yes, a few coots.

Chester sits on my foot. Is he telling me not to rush away? We pause and watch the herons swoop and drift and soar. There are no angels clapping but if I squint, it’s easy to imagine, on a day so fresh from memorializing death, that here at dawn we can witness angels flying.  Is this enough for one ordinary day?

We pull ourselves away.
There are words to write and “…miles to go before I sleep.” Chester is used to me quoting him lines of poetry when we walk.  For one brief moment he stops tugging on his leash. He looks over his shoulder and I swear he smiles.

With enchantment,
~Catherine

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