In a moment of both delight and dismay, I stooped to pick up a small form barely larger than the clothespins tucked into my pocket, as it lay wet and dirtied in the center of the yard just feet beyond the clothesline.
A little bird, strangely fallen with no obvious explanation as to how it had happened to lay there, motionless in the dampened grass.
I turned it over in my hand, the cold and small, soggy, brown lump.
And felt a wave of regret wash past as I tipped his lifeless head to one side and found a long, slender, recurved bill—my brown creeper.
One, that with every regret, left me to marvel at each quiet detail.
His long, thin bill easily picks small insects or spiders from the crevices in the bark, while his stiff and strong tail feathers create a prop, much like those of a woodpecker.
Long hind-toenails are handy for one who spends the day spiraling up a tree trunk, dropping to the bottom of the next tree and climbing upward again.
Cryptically colored feathers and round shape make him look like a knot on the bark as he creeps or like a faded, falling leaf.
Although he may fluff himself against the cold, the brown creeper is easily one of the smallest residents of my winter woods, weighing just a little more than a hummingbird!
"Have you seen...." is an effort to discover the unusual beauty in things not usually appreciated for their beauty.