Latest from Book of Birds: “What Are You Seeing?”

Black-capped Chickadee
abundant North American bird
in all four seasons
 
easily heard
“chickadee dee dee”
“hee hoo”
 
easily seen
white breast
gray wings
black head
always right in front of you
 
everyone everyday
witnesses this bird
by accident
it does not require
expertise persistence or good luck
like everything else we value
 
I was on the trail tho
observing one
just to watch
a wild living thing move
 
it was on the pine branch
right in front of me
I held up my binoculars
 
the chickadee flew
the chickadee sang
the chickadee bathed in a puddle
 
I looked even harder
to see if I could see its soul
the thing that connects all living beings together
 
Then I was suddenly interrupted by a jogging woman with a big dog.
 
“Oh my god!” she said, “what are you seeing?”
 
I’d been interrupted like this a lot before and knew just what to say...
 
“It’s a TIGER!” I told her.  “They’re only supposta be in the jungle or the zoo, but there’s one right here.  The Gods truly love us more today!”
 
She knew I was lying, rolled her eyes, and ran back down the trail with the intensity of an imaginary big cat.
 
I looked back at the tree and the chickadee was still there just for me. 
 
There was…
 
a certain roundness
to the eyeball
that was probably its soul
 
I wish I could’ve shared it with the woman, but I’ve learned most people just don’t get it.  She would’ve only ruined the beautiful creature with a disappointed “oh.”
 
- January 2018, Boulder, CO… first appeared in Entropy Magazine’s “The Birds” series
Listen to “What Are You Seeing?” Here!
Black-capped Chickadee, Rio Grande SP, Albuquerque NM, March 2021

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