Beautiful and Simple and Unknown

I know who won the Academy Awards. I know who fell, know the names of the designers behind the gowns. I know who ordered pizza, who participated in a giant group selfie, who photobombed whom. But I cannot tell you the name of the bird whose call ushers me down the street twee! twee! twee! towards the woods.

Tendrils of warmth are woven into the air, lightly perfumed with manure from the farms outside of town. Water rushes down the street, in its joy catching up sticks and pebbles and plastic bags, hurrying them along towards the storm drains. The snow on the lawn, black and gritty, has begun to recede. A moat of colorless grass surrounds each tree, keeping the snow at bay.

The dog pulls, urging me onward: This is the first time in days that the temperature has allowed us to venture outside for more than a moment. My feet crunch upon the ice at wood’s edge. The dog pauses to sniff at some bushes. The path through the trees is still thickly covered in snow. I am grateful for my boots.

A shimmer of water floats upon the creek’s thick ice, grown lacy at the edges. Snowmelt trickles down the muddy bank, briefly paused in its progress by a fat fingering root. The water pools there, hovering tentatively, one drop at a time, at the bottom of the root before letting go.

A mourning dove calls. A man sits on the ice, an upended white five-gallon bucket his chair, playing a line in his hand. The pumpkin still rests upon the frozen lake, its face wrinkled and withered, sagging and melting, succumbing to inevitabilities.

A cardinal flashes red among the trees as I circle the lake and go back towards the creek.

An empty nest nestles among naked branches, a nest to be lined in soft feathers and settled into, a nest that will soon hold a clutch of oval eggs.

I struggle up the muddy bank, digging in the toes of my boots for purchase and head home, promising myself to look up the name of the bird whose song is beautiful and simple and unknown.


This was linked up to Just Write.