Osprey Versus Clearcut

A wispy fog settled across the land on an early weekday morning. That’s meteorological fog, not the thick delusional stuff that’s settled across much of the nation. The former will eventually burn off; the latter may stay forever.

A writing man prepared to take his morning walk for fitness, inspiration and clarity. Where would he walk today? He narrowed his many choices down to two: a fresh clearcut he recently found by accident or an osprey recently returned from Mexico to his towering nest he also found by accident.

They were both the same distance. One walk into death, the other into life. One walk into obscene greed and waste. The other into the world of a magical bird that often flew with eels in its talons. What intrigued him more these days? What was on his mind? What did he prefer to write about? What did he write best about?

He began his walk. The walk to life or death took the same route for about a mile until that fork came in the road and he would have to make his choice.

Walking in fog always excited the man. It made him feel like he was in a noir movie, which he sort of was at the moment. The whole country was, but it wasn’t filmed in black and white. It was filmed in the garish colors of ignorance and stupidity.

He passed empty bottles of Bombay gin, dented cans of energy drinks, cracked vaping pens, and topless tins of Viennese sausage. What they meant in combination for the state of the union was impossible for the writer to ascertain, so he didn’t even try.

While he walked, he worked on the lyrics of a new country song called “Going to Winston.” It was a dumb little ditty about a construction worker who took his bonus, bought some booze, and drove to a town called Winston to get laid.

It didn’t work out for him. If it had, there wouldn’t be a country song.

The writer reached the fork. He stopped. He drank some water. The fog was lifting. There was a chance to osprey wouldn’t be at the nest. She might be fishing in the river. There was no chance the clearcut wouldn’t be there.

Life dammit! The writer proclaimed. He knew seeing the osprey was where he was in life these days. He was done with the metaphors offered up by the rapine of clearcuts. He wanted the reality of birds and the marvels they induced in him. They took him higher. Clearcuts only made him look into the abyss.

He took the fork to the left and headed for the osprey. He didn’t even care if the raptor wasn’t there. The site of her massive nest atop a lighting-struck Sitka spruce was more than enough.