Journal of Writing & Environment

In order of least shyness: evening grosbeak, junco, pygmy owl.  When the pine siskins come, they will be shameless.  The bats have their holocaust in their Vermont caves.  The pines die from pine beetles on our slopes.  Some presences are not blessings; they are self-contained, invitations to investigate further or warnings to stay away, or inscrutable, unreadable as a god is.  You there, mountain chickadee, in the thicket, then hopping up my leg.  You were struggling, off balance.  You could flutter but not fly, a wobbling presence come out of the blue.  As if you knew I would understand this as approval.  Look, I have always been uneasy using the word god.  It has no wind to it, like you do.  It sounds like clod, self-satisfied, a fat man in an overbuilt house.  A period, not a comma, which has wings.