Thursday, May 02, 2013

Each Secret Place, calling

In a few weeks, I'll be back here. In the heart of the woods. Listening for birds, which I often cannot hear, even with the hearing aids. But the light requires only vision, a big only. Tonight I sat outside and watched a pair of California Quail run here and there. Up a big limb of  the willow tree, then down, fly across the stream, then back, fly into the cottonwood, then back to the ground. The hen was making sort of a soft chuckling sound. They didn't seem amorous, right then. This morning five quail were dining under the bird feeder (red-wing blackbirds seem to scatter as much as they eat) with doves and a pair of wood ducks. It was about 6:30 and the light was soft. Later I had the sprinklers repaired and turned on.

I am just starting to read a book called Maphead, by Ken Jennings about his lifelong fascination with maps. I like this book, and the world of maps is a very fascinating one. In the world of George Eliot, she has finished Romola and written a play. Both she and her partner, Lewes, have a lot of health complaints, but they take healthy spa waters and soldier on. What a hard worker she is! I think reading this book is hard work, but not very, considering both her work and the work of her bearded biographer, Frederick Karl.


"Zurich is in the Alps," I learned
that and had a fact. But I thought the Alps
were in South America. Then I learned
that's the Andes--the Alps are somewhere
else. And Zurich is famous, for something.

So I gave up fact and went to myth
Zurich is the name of a tropical bird that
whets its bill on the ironwood tree in South America
singing about life and how good facts are.
The Alps are a people who raise reindeer, somewhere else.

Then it became important that the moon be
a close friend. I wanted the wind
always to make that same sound, sustaining
us through all the seasons, and always
around us--the night, and then the world.

Moons have changed many times by now,
and the wind has a voice more peremptory. Clear
nights have deepened all the way to the stars.
Zurich is famous and far from here,
and there isn't enough room for all the facts---

In this world.

from Even in Quiet Places; poems by William Stafford, page 12.

And books about great authors and maps are FULL of facts,
but can be offset by the chuckling of quail.
Good night!
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