Sometimes when I go out for a stroll I walk for several blocks without noticing a thing. It’s a rather gray day today, quiet with barely a breeze; no one is about but a few squirrels that melt away as I approach along the sidewalk. My thoughts chase each other with more vigor than they exhibit….which may be why I am missing out on what is happening all around me. But there is drama!
I happen to look up at the sky and there above me are two eagles wheeling and gyrating, tracing large patterns across the canvas of the sky. They circle and soar, together, each on an invisible path of air that looks aimless and lazy, yet no bird takes a chance to test their seeming indifference. The eagles’ outspread wings and stiff wedge of tail, the thrust of their beaks cutting through the afternoon sky, their presence wakes me up. I turn and turn trying to follow their flight. I wait to see if one or the other will suddenly plummet to the ground, great claws forward to scoop up some unlucky snack. Finally, they drift away, but the day has changed.
Though they left no lines in the sky, not so much as a puff of breath, I now see everything in a clearer light. Why, there is so much to note! Winter is having its way, whittling down the world to its core, stripping away the painterly lushness of summer and leaving us with charcoal etchings. Trees show off their bark, darkened by yesterday’s rain, and the strong upward lines of branches. Each one has its own habit of growth, each one a statement against the sky.
The discarded leaves litter the ground and collect where wind and chance have scattered them. Remnant bits of color against dark cement or the opaqueness of water make abstract Jackson Pollock-ish splatters. A few red or stark-white berries clinging to bushes are like splashes from a paintbrush, pure jolts in a brown-gray landscape.
Best of all is the luminous moss! Plump with rain, vibrant and refreshed, this is its season. I touch its springy surface, make a wish, and go home in a better frame of mind.