I’m tearing into a luscious wrinkled native peach, its flesh separating cleanly from the pit—gratifying enough in itself—when a deep powerful whir throbs through my open window. A family of turkeys has landed in my yard, an appearance not yet common enough to ignore. This, I blaspheme to myself in delight, is exactly how it would sound were the Holy Spirit to descend upon me, traveling incognito. It’s a good day.
* * *
At the commuter rail station I share a bench with an infernal leg-jiggler. A mockingbird quarters the trackside wasteland, pausing often to give me wing flash displays like some mutant butterfly, dead silent against the background of chittering chimney swifts. Except for one isolated burst of redwing. Oh, great, now I have to do a mind meld. Why did you choose redwing? Random? And if not, what were your criteria?
* * *
What a glorious time to be above ground. My great-granddaughter is a month old. Political spectacle to die for. Morning coffee. Spider in my cup, but smallish. Dead, and I saw him before I poured. Yesterday afternoon I heard a mockingbird’s stylized rendition of a wood thrush, and that evening, because I’m the center of creation, I heard the magical prototype. Today he mimicked a killdeer. I know what happens next.
* * *
At Burke’s Beach, a gull leaps into the wind, takes five strokes, rises thirty feet, drops a crab onto the packed wet sand. Stunned, defeated by superior technology, it lies twitching and meets its fate as sushi. Later, just after sunset, fire glows on the eastern horizon: a full moon erupts out of the Atlantic. You can see it move, so fast that it seems the cold-hearted orb will traverse the sky and sink in minutes.
Ray Scanlon. Massachusetts boy. Lucky to be above ground, lucky to have grandchildren. No MFA. No novel. No extrovert. Not averse to litotes. Twitter: @oldmanscanlon. On the web: http://read.oldmanscanlon.com/