I have always loved the migrations of birds. Their movements have moved me, and I've made paintings and poems with the energy they've imparted to me in their flights; here's one, written around 1990, while I lived in San Francisco:
* * *
CONVICTIONLong sluggy trails scallop the shore
Bodies of foam stranding the sea
At equinox geese will fly again
Marking the sky with pure intention
Each pair of wings will beat a V
So many birds; one direction
* * *
The poem above was actually inspired by the Brown Pelicans I enjoyed at Ocean Beach, my city refuge, the western edge of our continent. In California, one of the few times we ventured out of San Francisco to explore the state was inland, to the Central Valley at New Year's, to see great clouds of migratory waterfowl. That was one of the most exciting and yet peaceful journeys I've ever enjoyed; I will never forget the thousands of swans in their mute flight, which took my breath away -- or the flock of silent Sandhill Cranes on the ground, watching me as steadily as I watched them, and somehow, mysteriously, imperceptibly, slipping further and further from me, without appearing ever to have moved at all.
Now I'm on the east coast again, in New Jersey, not far from the Delaware River, near the Atlantic Flyway along the shore. Yesterday I realized something that I would have done well to have learned a couple decades ago: Life and me, we have this thing going on - 'til death do us part, I might say. Life is like me, fallible, and I've held it to a standard of perfection too long. Why would I not want to forgive you, Life, for having let me down at times, when you are the best mortal friend I could ever imagine, and I love you?