Half past sunrise.
The woodland mist around my house dissipates.
Damp dirt, pine, and wildflower fragrance tease my nose.
A light breeze brushes my face and the underbrush rustles.
Are forest dwellers changing shifts?
Or dryads winding down their overnight play?
A lone mourning dove sings its sorrow.
I close my eyes and contemplate my mountain home.
Gentleness and wildness,
hospitality and hostility,
mythology and reality
all meld together.
I yearn to capture this moment, keep it forever.
But I can only create a memory.
I sip my strong espresso.
Something stings my ankle. I set down my cup, swipe the culprit away, and scratch. It flies into my coffee.
I lift my camera, scan the bush through its lens.
I snap my photos and muse:
Can treetops touch the sky?
The bird swooped into range as I walked across the Navajo Bridge.
I set my camera on it and started shooting. I had no idea what it was. Just that it was huge and I was mesmerized.
I began clicking, rapid firing, following the bird wherever it went–high above me, below the bridge to the Colorado River, around and around, close to the canyon walls. The bird soared, dipped, and circled.
I heard my husband behind me.
“Go, Jo,” he yelled. “It’s a condor.”
I ignored his cheerleading and focused on the bird. I’d never seen a condor and I wasn’t sure that the creature now in my sights fit that definition. I knew only that I was invigorated, that it was beautiful, and that I had to capture it.
I don’t know how long the bird stayed with me. Seemed a long time. It vanished as suddenly as it appeared. It wasn’t until I after I researched the introduction of California condors into the Grand Canyon and checked my photos with a credible birder that I realized the rarity of this sighting.
The California condor (Tag #LO) in these photos is a young female. Raised at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey she was released into the wild in 2012.
And three years later, we met. What a gift!
courtesy of Joann Pensabene
The icicle descends from the roof’s overhang.
Title: Extended Chicken Leg with Attached Foot.
Given to: ME.
A parting gift from the winter that started late and outlasted its welcome.
Response: Weird, wonderful, exquisite. Unique.
My pulse soared.
I grabbed my camera and clicked.
Next day, the slow metamorphosis–
Ice. Water droplets. Condensation atop my deck’s wooden floor
swept into the windy night’s vast frost,
it’s essence,vaporized, it vanished in the warmth of yet another day’s morning sun.