Bird Hunt

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The morning sings with promise, the air hums with delight.
Six year-old hands clap, pure joy and
young eyes sparkle, your whole body
wiggling and moving to the dance of right now.

The back door clicks softly; we take hands and step into the world.

The dusty sparrows, hopping sweetly, darting and nipping for crumbs,
the orange breastplate on the robin a sign of his chivalry,
the surprising variety in the air alighting from rooftop to phone wire –
all these surround the house, a feast for our eyes.

Caw! Caw! Caw! A call as harsh as the shiny black feathers,
the soft rush of wings and startled cry from a camouflaged throat,
the cooing lament piercing deep into my own childhood –
all these sounds of the field are gifts to our ears.

Rounding the corner to the beach, we slow.

“A whole colony!” you gasp in awe.
Dozens of ducks, quietly quacking, murmuring, rustling,
the mallards emerald heads glittering in the noonday light,
the rocky brown females snuggled down, resting.

Gulls, bigger, dirt white and some with red-rimmed eyes,
maneuver freely along the sand among the domesticated others.
The occasional shrill cry – extended neck and open beak –
disturb no one but the wind.

Your face is rapt with the glory of seeing.
Mine is flush with the giddy of receiving.
I take your hand with a smile.

Note: This poem is part of my Lenten discipline, in which I attempt to cultivate space and quiet in order to hear from God and respond with poetry.

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