Cool and rainy. A perfect respite from the heat we've left in North Carolina. Leslie walking like a champ on all terrains with her new hip. Enjoying walking together again. The beach is littered with these giant, aged remnants. So many we assumed they had once grown there when that sandy, rocky beach was part of the adjoining forest, its soil rich and loamy. "No," we were told. "Those trees were uprooted deep in the forests many generations ago. Floods brought them down the mountain in rivers, which emptied into the bay, where they were eventually washed onto the shore." Monuments from a different time and place. The woman who told us, my age perhaps, remembered playing on them as a child, as her parents and grandparents did before her.
She found it in the grill of our car
when we stopped at the Loggers Museum in Forks.
A monument to clearcuts and habitat loss.
A Wilson’s Warbler, my buddy Wayne tells me.
Stilled in perfection.
But for one last fleeting moment.
Alive in grace and color and flight.
Doing what it is alive to do.
The next beat and it’s dead.
No match for our rented Ford Focus.
Our songbirds are in trouble.
I read it in the news.
Millions lost yearly
to man’s carelessness,
to our cute and cuddly cats.
What will our lives be without them?
Our specimen, our Wilson’s Warbler,
a victim of our need to see the world.
Bad timing, I think.
Collateral damage? I ask.
An uncounted cost of our trip.
Only acknowledged in our thoughts and images.