Another photo of my favorite tree…
I sat beneath its branches and leaves as though owed the shade it provided. Groans of wood too heavy to endure the onslaught of the ever-blowing wind filled my ears and declared this ancient life was weary for enduring its own weight. It had carried that burden for countless years yet bellowed its own fatigue. Foliage rustled in the breeze like a symphonic orchestra of nature against nature, the expression of passing force against near-immovable existence.
I took shelter there and enjoyed the brief respite from the simmering sun. All manner of wildlife lay before me. Ducks and geese and squirrels and herons and egrets and an infinite demonstration of diversity danced before my eyes, and I relaxed in the shadow provided by this being older than any I’d ever known before. While restless winds wandered about me and my friend as it held its plumage out in offering to all who would come, the briefest of sounds drew my attention upward. There resting on one of many appendages swaying in the wind was a male great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus). It perched so near me that I felt its presence as much as I sensed it with my eyes and ears. It shared with me a moment in this place.
Yet I could not help but wonder if these two souls—one winged and vocal, the other stoic and silent—if these two expressions of life were not in fact conspiring to watch me there beneath their gazes, watching me huddled quietly at the base of a timeless spirit as a master of the sky held its place and monitored me. Such spry freedom, that bird, and freely demonstrating its superiority by flitting from branch to branch until it rested just above me, its eyes ever watchful and persistent, its eyes so clear and near I had no doubt it observed me with complete confidence of its own safety.
I continued snapping photos of nature’s splendor displayed before me. Nevertheless, at no time was I unaware of two lives in balance as one held me upright and the other watched. Cursory glances toward the sky continued revealing my two companions, one seen only in silhouette while the other filled my vision. Both looked down upon me and the world at large. Our three lives were, for even the briefest of moments, joined together as one.