The morning was indistinguishable from so many others. Lorenz was taking his morning walk around the pond or lake, it was of that intermediate size that could be either or neither, when in a break with his habit, he sat down on one of the four benches, and stared out over the water. He hadn’t seen the usual egrets or herons or ibis, which did strike him as a bit odd since they were as regular in attendance as he was. As he pondered their absence he was startled by what felt like a tickling on his arm. He looked down to find a Painted Lady butterfly perched on his forearm sitting placidly. He stared at what seemed to be the eyes on its wing staring at him. Neither moved, he for fear of dislodging his visitor, the butterfly for its own, undisclosed, unfathomable reasons. This mutual staring continued until time lost its shape, its defintion, and puddled at his feet, no longer mattering at all. But evenutally a breeze came up and it lifted from his arm, flitted about as if in some farewell and was off. He had no idea that moments later the tsunami warning sirens began up and down Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.
The woodpeckers here seem quite content to beat their heads against palm trees, which I am not certain should qualify as trees, not a ring to be seen if you cut one down, but they tend to fall before you get to that point.
The most common woodpecker is the red bellied, which itself is odd since his head is bright red his belly with a pinkish tinge, but that is so Florida I suppose naming things for what you want but not at all what they seem to be.
I could go on but the ibis are upset that an armadillo is wander across the yard interrupting their lunch.
So many of the late arrivals tonight are egrets, the Cattles long in among the reeds and brush sharing space, only reluctantly, with the ibis.
It is their snowy cousins who arrive as the horizon is a fading band of orange gold dissipating under the faint, unyielding eye of Venus, and seem shocked when they are turned away with flap of wing and cry, warned by the perching anhinga that in this preserve the inn fills quickly, and in January there is no nearby manger to be found, so you’d best make avian friends, for morning arrives all too quickly enough.
We can sit for a time, and speak of our pains, how they cause us to stop and look inward while the world proceeds on it’s axis, in a slow march through time and space, and we share the anger and anguish of our too fallible bodies which time reclaims in slow progression.
We do not pause and cast eyes on the egrets, heron and ibis returning for the night as the retreating sun paints the clouds in colors known best to flames consuming all, to wings flapping as perches are taken adjusted, as conversations are continued while night settles slowly over the preserve, the birds marvel at how we allow ourselves to be absent from the simple beauty of the world that surrounds us.
The sun slowly starts it’s daily retreat, setting the thinning clouds ablaze.
The birds return, ibis, egrets, anhinga and kite and even the limpkin march slowly across the lawn to the preserve that abuts our yard.
They take up their perches on the trees and bushes and on the limpkin’s call begin quietly to recite their evening prayers as we bow our heads in reverence to their faith that the new morning will soon dawn for us all.
Only the ducks remain, and they aren’t saying. Ask a Muscovy where all the ibis have gone and he will say, “good riddance, they’re ugly and get in the way.” Ask of the pelicans and they will remind you that now there are more fish, and they’ll be back eventually, but things are much calmer in their absence. Anyway, they say, the moorhens are still here, but thank heavens the coots have gotten a room to do their mating this year. And for a moment, in this senior community, we think they are speaking of us.