On Vultures

I was in a poetic frame of mind at the time I experienced this image. (Ah! I miss the old me, my poetic mind and soul). It began when I pulled into the one-space parking lot of my favorite tennis court, deep in the river-woods of a North Bay  (that is Northern California – a very cool place to be! still) micro town. It is amazing to me that the town even has a tennis court. The fact that they built one there at all speaks to how cool California is. No, it was and is not a wealthy town. Tennis courts are, now days, virtually only built for that reason. It is just a happy and chill place, where tennis would add to the appeal. (Truth be told, however, it is a place where many San Francisco people have summer vacation homes). At any rate, I digress, happily. I do not want to focus on such subject matter. I pulled in, and opened my driver-side door in a hurry – all business, all part of my routine: to get out onto the tennis court, one of my favorite places to be in this life. My opening of the door startled a great bird off of the fence post nearby! The rustle of its wings: sounded like the shifting stiff dress of a gothic queen moving haphazardly, in some distress, through the vacant stone halls of her castle. The bird alighted upon a a twisted, bare tree bough of a cold, hard, gnarled oak tree that stretched its arms jealously over the small building beside the tennis court. And then, in the midst of all this Gothicism, came the pretty moment. I marched by, having gotten my bag out of the back seat of my car, on my way to the courts, and looked up, above my shoulder at the vulture. She was looking down at me too. And a lovelier bird – I kid you not! – there never was. She craned and S’d her head around the gnarled silver oak branch, just above the little hut’s rooftop, peering at me in startlement and curiosity. There was a sweetness in the bird’s aspect no different, no less, than that seen in a dove as it does the same behavior. Even if it were closer, and the “ugliness” of the buzzards’ naked red head were before me, I think the personality – the heart – of the bird would have shone through, and imbued even its unfortunate ugly skin with beauty as it stared at me perplexed, frightened, and curious. I suppose it was something about knowing that the bird had been so startled and frightened, yet also at the same time, so willing and able (because able, I believe – birds being capable of lifting up off the vulnerable ground, and ensuring themselves a safe place, yes?) to find out, and thus vanquish – in the best way – that fear. We humans are incapable of doing this. We certainly have as much fear and unsureness of one another, yet we must remain on the ground opposite one another, no matter how much that irks us. (This is a thought that just now came to me, this rationale for why the moment – when she leaned over on her branch, and craned her prettily curved neck around the oak branch to spy a glance at me, her “other” (blugh! I hate that concept) – struck me as so charming. … Hmm. I do like the rationale; I think it is fairly insightful and interesting – but still there is just a certain “something” about that is too dry; and I durst not wish to dry out any poetic moment! Indeed. Perhaps it just needs to be conveyed more poetically too. And for that I would need be in a more poetic state of soul. That is not so easy – I have to get back!) Sigh. Heaven help me to get back to that state.

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