Driving along a country road

Yesterday was my dad’s 80th birthday. He doesn’t seem like 80; he’s sharp as a tack, and just as feisty.

In commemoration of the special day, it seemed, I saw a bald eagle at the top of a tree, wings spread wide to dry in the sun after an earlier rain. Further along, a great swarm of blackbirds appeared, arcing over the road, and pouring itself down into the field next to me, where the birds settled in a noisy blanket – thousands of them, all talking at once.

Later, I stood in the yard and watched a bright red cardinal sitting on a branch, making his evening calls. I listened until he suddenly flew away, struck, as I always am, by the stunning contrast of his red body against the gray-brown woods.