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Evening Walk, High Summer

My walk through the nearby woods usually includes a stop by the heronry where no less than 20 great blue herons have built nests high at the top of the dead trees in the wetland. In the spring I can watch as they fly back from their hunting to feed the heron chicks, scrawny and screeching, all stretched necks and begging beaks.

By now the young birds have learned to fly and hunt, and soon they will be leaving the nests. Last week I heard a raucous exchange between one of the adults and one of the juveniles, facing off with their wings spread back. All the tender nurturing seemed to have gone out of the family in just these few short months.

This evening, long before I arrived at the little spit of land that extends into the wetland, I heard a rapid rat-tat-tat . I thought it must be one of the pileated woodpeckers, but it was so rapid that it almost blended into one smooth sound and so big that it couldn’t possibly be coming from a 12-inch bird. In my mind’s ear I heard it as the groaning that two dead and heavy trees might make when their crossed trunks sway in a wind gust. I actually looked around to make sure that no tree was about to fall.
Another minute’s walk and I was right beneath the rat-tat-tat, echoing loudly all around the bog. I looked up to see the woodpecker in the bark near the top of the tree, its red-crested head pecking faster than it seemed possible for muscles, tendons, and bones to move.

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About Katherine Power

I didn’t set out to be a terrorist. As a student activist, I moved from protesting the war in Viet Nam to waging guerrilla war to overthrow the government….

Recent and Upcoming Appearances and Publications
1/15/2014 Complexity and Social Change, Occupy Radio
10/31/2013 Surrender, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
10/25/2013 Surrender, Taos Community Theater, Taos, NM

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