Bird Watching

He was walking his dog along the edge of the grass, carefully and quietly — like one does in this place. I saw him out of the corner of my eye as I talked softly to an old friend. Her birthday would have been Sunday. I brought her pink geraniums, which I set down next to the pot of pansies from her son.

“You have a perfect spot here,” I said, as I dusted away grass clippings.

Just then, I noticed an osprey gliding gracefully above the river, and watched until it disappeared behind the spring-green leaves that lined the edge of the hill.

The gravel of the path made a soft tick tick tick noise beneath my tires as I drove away, slowly passing the old man and his dog. He turned when he heard me, and smiled.

“If you look over there,” I said, as I stopped next to him, “you can see an osprey flying above the river.”

“I think they’re from the nesting platform over there,” he nodded, pointing to a place I could not see in the distance.

“Aren’t they beautiful?”

“Yes. Yes they are,” he said with a sad smile.

We watched the osprey together for a while.

“There are hawks, too,” he spoke into the silence.

“I know, I often see them on my walks,” I said, “Red tail, mostly.”

“Ah, you know birds, then? My wife and I used to sit on our patio and watch the migrating birds as they arrived in town. They’d flock to a tree we planted when we first moved here.”

“We are blessed to live in this place, aren’t we?” I could tell he knew.

“We lived here for 40 years. My attorney is buried over there now, and our neighbors on that hill there, next to my wife.”

“It is a perfect spot,” I whispered, as we both watched the osprey swoop across the river again.

“They say the pairs return to each other in the spring, in the same place,” he said. “They’re coming home.”

• • •

©2012 Jen Payne

14 thoughts on “Bird Watching

  1. This is a special post, Jen … perfectly paced, trusting, and very touching prose … with just the right photo complement. I’m rewarded with every rereading. Thanks for this.

  2. living… dying… nature… beauty… love… so many moments in time pass away so quickly – now this experience, transferred from someone’s memory to a page in cyberspace, lives on in the minds of anyone who pauses long enough to take it in.. and so another moment passes away, yet nothing is wasted if we try to understand and acknowledge it

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