A man named Rob was at the park today. As we spoke, I noticed he did not dress to impress.
He had a face that was getting on in years and blue eyes that were honest and looked like they were seeing the world for the first time. He had his hands in his pockets while mentioning something about his mother passing on about a month ago at an advanced care facility. I told Rob I was very sorry to hear this news, and he said thank you in a very sincere sort of way.
Rob had seen I was holding binoculars, and he had spotted me watching birds in a nearby tree. That’s what made him walk over and tell me he knew a few things about the winged creatures. He went on to say something about hummingbird feeders, which he used to have in his yard at his former home in Phoenix.
I had mentioned to Rob about the brewer’s blackbird and the pair of Wilson’s warblers I had spotted earlier at the park. The warblers were tiny yellow things, I explained. So delicate. Practically the size of hummingbirds. Always on the move.
There was an American robin on a bough above us guarding its nest. I had pointed it out to Rob, as well as the male grackle that had been looming higher in the tree for several days, as if setting its sights on raiding the nest.
Rob brought something up about butterflies, saying that there was a local event later in the day where they would release a bunch of them. It was at that point that our conversation fizzled, so he said goodbye and continued on his way.
I sat on a bench and watched him in the distance. He had stopped and was holding his sweat jacket, his head lifted upward, gazing toward the crowns of trees, which made it look like he was staring into the sky. But as was typically the case in the Mojave, there were no clouds around to look at.
Cassandra Keenan is a writer and visual artist living in Las Vegas, Nev. Her fiction has been published by Gravel, formercactus, Five 2 One and Queen Mob’s Tea House. Her poetry is included in a women’s literary anthology titled Legs of Tumbleweeds, Wings of Lace. Cassandra blogs at tinyspeckofparadise.com and chirps at twitter.com/innova8tress.