Cedar Wax Wings (notice yellow-tipped tails)
Gunshot woke me
Saturday morning.
It sounded close—
and I thought of the five deer,
including “the biggest buck”
seen in this part of the prairie
for many years,
that graze just below
the hermitage.
But it was bird shot.
I dressed,
contemplating whether to venture out
to see from whence the shots came.
I was standing at the back door,
coffee in hand,
when I heard the next shower
of gunshot. Two Red-tail Hawks,
who home at the top of a tree
just south of the hermitage,
flew up.
I put on my shoes,
grabbed the No Hunting signs
I’d found in the closet
and got in the car.
I saw no one on the road
and there was no evidence
of anyone in the pasture—
human or deer or bird.
I strung a No Hunting sign—
“under the penalty of the law”
(very intimidating!)—
on the fence near the cattle guard
leading to the reservoir.
Then I drove over to the 200 Acres
and installed a No Hunting sign
on the fence next to the gate
leading into the beautiful pond there.
Quiet though I tried to be,
I disturbed the ducks,
who fluttered and splashed into the air,
took a fly-around
and landed softly back on the pond.
It’s here,
two days ago,
I saw the two Bald Eagles
the young farmer who rents the land
told me had returned.
Last year, they (are they the same ones?)
hung out in the tree tops
near the Big Pond next to the farmhouse.
They were here a few days
and then we didn’t see them again.
I’m hoping to be able to contain myself
and not disturb them too often
this year. They see as soon as I drive up
and park the car on the road,
the far side of the pond.
They are big,
and, through the camera lens,
I observe their beauty,
their stillness,
their alertness,
their birdness—they groom—
and, their confidence
(this may be an anthropocentric projection.)
I am thrilled to the core
to see them.
At home,
a mile as the crow flies,
in the Hackberry and surrounds,
there is a flock of Cedar Wax Wings,
a flock of Robins
and I make the first sighting
of a House Finch,
at a feeder hanging low from the tree.
I watch a Red-Bellied Woodpecker
near the top of the pecan tree
try to peck its way into a pecan husk.
Three Bluejays are at it too.
I am thrilled.

Cedar Wax Wing

DSCN2131House Finch
At twilight,
the time when great flocks of Canada Geese
take to the sky,
moving from one place to another
in v-fronted lines,
I stop amidst evening chores,
to watch, listen.
There are so many
that together, they fill the air
with a tremendous honking.
Two flocks fly overhead
as I drive down the road
south of the hermitage,
on an errand.
I see a truck parked
on the road.
The driver has backed it
up against a pasture gate so that he’s not parked
in the road; he holds field glasses to his eyes.
I stop, roll down my window.
“Do you enjoy watching the geese?” I ask.
“And the deer,” he answers.
I ask where he’s from;
he lives a few miles away.
“We’ve had a lot of shooting around here lately,” I say.
“I’m not surprised. It’s deer season,” says he.
“All this area is posted,” say I.
He changes the subject.
I drive on half a mile
and release another field mouse,
caught in a trap in the high tunnel,
where they’ve been munching on the greens.
A few moments later,
when I drive by,
the pickup truck is gone.I think word is out
about “the biggest buck.”
He is magnificent.
As are the Eagles.
I hope people are coming
simply to look,
and wonder. But I am as nervous
and alert
as the deer,
the eagle.