Friday, March 27, 2009
For an instant I’d heard it— then, again and again.
A sound more mechanical than animal, yet one I had hoped to one day hear, here, where the woods fade to fields and scrub surrounds the pond. But, with phone to my ear as I was, outdoors that evening chatting, positioned in the one spot guaranteed to carry a conversation through from start to finish, I dared not take a step.
In just minutes, all was quiet. And, walking back into the house in the darkness, I replayed it again in my mind. Yes, a handful of repeated nasal notes, with pauses between of several seconds.
I hoped what I’d heard was right.
For I wanted to have heard a Woodcock.
Each day that followed I returned, and listened carefully at dusk for the secretive bird, a shorebird at home in the woods.
Eyes to the sky for some sign of him.
Ears waiting for the telling call.
Still finding, each night, nothing.
Until, the bird I’d heard was a memory—
an uncertain one, at best.
Ten days passed, and on a bright and shining morning, wrapped up in the pond walking and pool watching that this season uses to distract me, I stepped up and over the berm toward Little Pond pool, eyes skipping over the grass, looking straight to the water’s surface. When, from just inches ahead of my steps, up shot a small, wildly flapping, brown bird.
And, against the bright blue, this shape certain—long bill, short tail.
So, I find myself returning there, each day, and walking slowly. To see who wanders the bank, probing the earth for worms.
I think this fine frog feels most special,
to have captured the attention of a grown woman,
while setting out to capture his dinner.