Isn’t it interesting how the river birds tell their unique story @ different times of the day? Yesterday I was @ the river during mid-day & it was SPARROW & HOUSE FINCH galore. The BLACK PHOEBE was dozing on a branch & only a few SWALLOWS flew by lazily. According to what I saw you would have thought that the river housed a limited bird diversity. My time varied visits taught me that mid-day bird siesta hides many from our view in the bushes & reeds. The large species variety was doing just fine out of my sight. The bird & human river mysterious tale unfolds w/repeated, gentle encounters.
& this brings me to my ” levee tribe”. I see people on a fairly regular basis on my levee walks. & as the Roman Empire wasn’t build overnight so my tribe relationships follow suit. We seem to adhere to an unwritten, lengthy protocol. It takes several times of seeing each other before our shy, tentative outreach overtures start. An acknowledging quick head nod turns into a verbal: “Hi”, then develops into”Hi, how are you” & then the weather comments cement the foundation for more comfy rooted interactions. Wildlife observations, family matters, local/global events get discussed until we realize that we have to attend to our daily routines & we hurry off in different directions nourished by our encounters. I love my ”levee tribe”, because it mirrors the river flow= slow, gentle & full of unknown magic, which unfold over time into cherished familiarities. So to-day let me introduce you to 3 “levee tribe” members:
I like you to meet Rudy. Often I run into him as he returns from his early morning downtown coffee after his night shift. I am able to spot him from far away due to his oversized, feisty cowboy hat & bright yellow( & I mean bright!) snazzy cowboy boots. His night job makes him walk slowly & heavy w/his head down as if he is gently slipping into Morpheus’ arms. When he recognizes me, his hard life kissed face spreads into a twinkle eyed smile & he greets me w/ a warm, strongly accented ” How are you jane?”. He tells me about his work, family in Mexico & is concerned that I am too busy. When we part we good-bye each other w/our traditional “ Take care of yourself” & a hug.
& here is Hollie, who walks her adopted well matured Bassett Hound Albert. We have these great, laughter filled conversations, which cause us to forget time. We are both talk weavers: one topic leads to another & I suspect that we could spend a royal amount of time just schmoozing away, enjoying each other’s take on life.
Then there is Darren & his son Jackson on their tandem bike involved in their lively morning conversations. They are on their mission to catch the downtown school bus in time. After a quick “Hello” I share my river bird updates & on they dash… Over time Jackson has become well versed about the river birds, pointing them out by their correct names. Okay! I admit it: I am absolutely smitten to witness Jackson’s expanding relationship w/the river birds.
Oh! I just have to tell you about “Cooper”, whose real name I don’t know. On a really early, foggy morning I was absorbed watching a COOPER HAWK hunting the river bank. I got startled by a young, hooded man running up fast from the underpass @ Laurel St. bridge. He stopped to observe the graceful swoops of the low gliding HAWK & said quietly” Isn’t that beautiful?” His heart felt comment opened up our long, meandering conversation. Turned out he knew that last year a COOPER HAWK couple had nested in a levee tree up stream, producing 2 off-springs. He loved the sight of the GREAT BLUE HERON & could identify 3 by their behavior & feather pattern. He told me his internal balance got restored during his river visits: taking in the bird’s beauty gave him peace. When we parted we agreed that our meeting had been wonderful…
& I walk the river while my “levee tribe” & river birds hum their harmonious tune around me filled w/life’s grand, delicious adventures… So can you see why I feel fortunate?
River rich jane greetings