Saturday, April 28, 2012

Dark dreams of birds in the half-light

I haven't been out with my binoculars very much lately, so the birds are coming to me in my dreams.They are trying to bring me a message, if only I could understand their language. My mind and my emotions have had an upheaval of late, and the way ahead seems murky. I could do with their guidance.  Last night, I was walking in the gloaming, the world around me only dimly visible. Two slender white birds with glossy black legs flew into a tree. Snowy Egrets, I said to the man walking beside me. No, they're Night-herons, he replied. I could still see them, incandescent white in the darkness, yet as soon as he doubted, I began to question what I was seeing. Their whiteness no longer looked so white, their forms became less distinguishable. We walked on, and in the twisted branches above me, suddenly a bird would appear -- but each time, when I looked closer, I would realize it was only the craggy bark playing tricks with my eyes in the half-light. An owl, that branch looks just like an owl, I said -- no, wait, a hawk. A Red-tailed Hawk, the man said, and at that, the bark became flesh and feather. And then the bird grew larger, its feathers darker. It began to call, but in a way no Red-tail has ever called before -- a loud, insistent alarm, a scream that seemed to carry with it all the angers of hell.

Red-tailed Hawk (Reports of Explorations and Surveys of the U. S. Pacific railroad, Volume X, 1859. Public domain.)

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