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Day 58: A Red-Bellied Woodpecker for a Redhead

[An archival favorite from several years ago...]

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud.

The morning had begun with a slow stir,

sweet cream into my husband’s French roast coffee,

an ecologically irresponsible hazelnut for me.

we’re learning daily how to honor our differences

and enjoy the creative ways to do this with ease.

It can be so difficult to learn what it is you need,

after all, really need, when you grow up with little practice.

He’s learned to make himself French roast

that I am delighted to bring him.

I have learned to make myself a K-cup of hazelnut,

either to write with, or to join him.

We are learning to tend our hungers,

Each one needing a little differently, but loving together.

It had been a difficult if delightful day.

My bones were weary, my heart both good and tender.

I had spoken fully, you see,

cleanly, clearly, courageously

naming my hunger to be heard,

tending it myself

but also with those I love,

my family who needs to know.

How else would they know unless I learn to speak?

Even then, some refuse, unwilling to learn.

Voices refused for decades can yet be tended, in time

Speaking still teaches us all what is needed,

what is necessary to be said.

I had spoken and was glad.

This day after was a good day

to join the dog in sniffing a bit of nature, I decided.

“I’ll run her out this morning,” I yelled from the kitchen.

Outside, Marley and I meandered at her pace,

her ‘reading the news’ as she does,

the various happenings that she knows

written in the manner and scents in a body language

that makes no sense to me,

most days makes me impatient.

But not today, which then

allowed me to see it.

And laugh.

A stunningly beautiful red-headed hairy woodpecker.

in all his splendor and hunger.

My eyes were drawn to him,

the black and white specks of his feathers,

the flaming color.

There he was...

...on the metal-trunk of a street sign.

Pecking for insects in the iron.

A woodpecker,

searching for nourishment

where none would ever be found.

I wondered whether his head hurt.

He stayed at it for a while

his red head banging against the grid

that would never feed him.

I walked closer.

He startled.

Perhaps he simply realized

the futile location and pursuit for his hungers.

He flew away to the nearest pine tree,

getting lost in the spacious and welcoming green.

I smiled, envying him his flight.

I smiled because it only took him a minute.

It’s taken me nearly 47 years.

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