The redwing blackbirds are back and chattering overhead. The males choose the highest branches, the very tips, or the tops of cattails--always the impossible perch. Their glossed black wings are capped with scarlet flashing and stripes of toy-box yellow, all the better to swoop the meadow--my heart's own superheroes.
Far below them the females pose as sparrows, brown and busy with the muddy work of spring. Weavers and builders, they flit from grasses to bulrushes with neither pomp nor circumstance, but purpose.
And all around them, the meadow blooms. The forest floor rustles with the sound of groundhogs gathering dead leaves for their dens at the edge of the woods. Forsythia spill their gold tresses along the hillside--they've two weeks to be divas, then it's back to the chorus line.
I walk the path between field and marsh, marking the progress of wild roses. Long after I'm gone, the owls will take flight, but I like knowing they are here now. I see them in my mind's eye as I circle back to the woods where the daffodils will reign for another week. The peonies wait in the wings.
None of them care that I am here, which is just as it should be. In my hand is cupped a tiny pine cone, its scales thin as parchment. The wind picks up and the branches of pine trees rustle like petticoats. The whole world seems on the verge, and yet this moment right now is the only one that counts.
At the last turn around the meadow a redwing sparks in the branches of a birch. His song is the last thing I hear before I head home.