Late afternoon. In a clump of cypress flits a tiny bird. Surely a sparrow among these spreading trees. On looking closer I see a downy-headed woodpecker, all black and bright-headed, so small that spring has only just pushed him new into the world, into the space called living. A wee bird among ancient things, reckless, bold, curious, full of enthusiasm.
The bird circles the tree, rising like a spiral. But it will find nothing on the smooth firm bark. Better the pines with their knots and insect crevices and– I am teaching the little bird? Proffering instruction, advice, elementary science?
Already the bird is gone, bored with my lecture on self-sufficiency. I who wander to market for my food brought a thousand miles via terrible machines, unbearable noise, industrial stench that would drive off any sensible creature, like a little bird. I have lapsed into unctuous words, words without knots or crevices to catch nuance, irony, contradiction, hubris. Sticky words in which to trap thoughts. I stop, none too soon.
I wonder if the bird will come back, tomorrow or next spring. I hope so. That bird can teach me a thing or two.