Earth Journal:

I Stop to Listen on a Wet Morning

by M.L. Faunce

This morning while walking to fetch the newspaper, my perky pooch ahead of me by a length, I heard a persistent staccato ring. A neighbor's phone, I judged, and when it went unanswered, walked on.

But as I returned and changed direction, fully facing the wetlands and the Bay beyond, I once again paid attention to the trill sound. The notes were the voice of a melodic bird or small critter I couldn't identify. Such is life in our hectic times that we're more in tune to machines than to nature - even when surrounded by God's great bounty, as we are in Bay country.

When life becomes more prose than poetry, it's time to step back and let the senses do the walking. So I settled in and took a long look at the beauty around me.

Grass lush and green, thanks to the kindness of a mild winter. Stately wetland grasses swaying like golden shafts of grain. Barren trees with brittle branches hung with crystals formed by icy rain drops. And the rain itself, filling the air and falling like a clean, gauze curtain that laced the windows of my mother's Irish ancestors. Now pools of liquid fill the gravel road in front of my house and are lined with oak leaves, the last to fall.

A black-capped chickadee flits, then floats, to a feeder. A heron flushes from the brush and a mockingbird preens and flaps its wings, shaking off the heavy moisture. But the bird's twitches, more fully observed, reveal a darker story. A cat's swift hunting skills have made their mark, its skill not yet honed or leaving something to be desired this early morning. Mourn I do for this fair creature's fate today.

Yet I am refreshed by this slight pause from the business of my busy life to drink in all that is within sight and ear and grasp in Bay country. We may not be able to identify all that we survey, nor are the sights always pretty. But this morning, the seventh anniversary of my mother's passing from this kingdom to the next, stopping to realize that I am part of this rare kingdom here on earth is quite enough.

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VolumeVI Number 3
January 22-28, 1997
New Bay Times

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