Monday, December 08, 2014

Stray Notes (Walking)

Out of yesterday’s tramp. Twenty acres of turnips gone unharvested, rotting in the earth: their local cloying stench unbuffeted by the breeze. A bald eagle, immature, strafing forty or so mallards, who erupt into the sun, and a bevy of goldeneye, who dive, remarkably, in concert. A great horned owl (Leonard Preserve) stuck like a paper bag up in a Norway spruce, unmoving. Kestrels partout, three on wires along the road. One hovering interminably, tail splayed, correcting minutely, and diving into tall grass, quarry hid. A brown creeper flitting and nervous, continually recommencing its whorl up a trunk. To stand among oaks, their strewn browns and coppers, to look down into the variable gray entanglements of a buttonbush swamp. (Think of Thoreau’s huzzahs in “Walking” for “the impervious and quaking swamps”: “When, formerly, I have analyzed my partiality for some farm which I had contemplated purchasing, I have frequently found that I was attracted solely by a few square rods of impermeable and unfathomable bog—a natural sink in one corner of it.”)

Writing it down, “to preserve the mind’s chastity.”