A cleansing rain came early to this day
As dog and I brought balls and brains to work—
Though neither are all that they used to be—
And set about to doing what we do
On days of rain or summer sun or snow
Until the day grew long, the clouds set sail,
And I asked Jack to stay and guard the house
While I went cycling. Sun and birds and air.
An osprey’s screams above the business block
Put just the perfect turn on afternoon.
In Rockport, where I stopped to get my mail,
A woman I don’t know accosted me
And asked if I were “The Bike-Riding Man.”
“That would be me,” I said—but is it true?
Or am I “Hiking Man” or “Bird-Brained Guy”?
I mused on this as Jack and I began
Our daily ritual: we hiked Beech Hill,
Where chestnut-sided warblers packed their beaks
With bugs and worms to feed their secret broods,
And waxwings blew like kites across the sky.
No redstarts, phoebes, yellow warblers—still
Again I heard a rose-breasted grosbeak
Trying to drown a Nashville warbler’s song.
Veeries, catbirds, towhees, and chickadees.
A lone Savannah sparrow claimed Beech Nut.
No other dogs or people on the hill
While we were there—just deep green fields, blue skies,
White sails dotting the bay. We each ate one
Blueberry. Then down in the woods I heard
My old friends hermit thrush and wood-pewee.
Beech Hill List
Beginning at 5 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.
1. Red-eyed vireo* (v)
2. Ovenbird (v)
3. Chestnut-sided warbler
4. Common yellowthroat*
5. Cedar waxwing*
6. Eastern towhee
7. Veery (v)
8. Mourning dove*
9. Gray catbird* (v)
10. American goldfinch*
11. American crow*
12. Black-capped chickadee
13. Song sparrow*
14. American robin*
15. Nashville warbler (v)
16. Rose-breasted grosbeak (v)
17. Savannah sparrow
18. Hermit thrush (v)
19. Eastern wood-pewee (v)
20. Northern cardinal (v)
21. Herring gull
23. Chipping sparrow (v)
24. American redstart (v)
25. Ring-billed gull
26. Blue jay (v)
27. House finch (v)
v = Voice only
Tags: American crow, American goldfinch, American redstart, American robin, black-capped chickadee, blue jay, Cedar waxwing, chestnut-sided warbler, chipping sparrow, common yellowthroat, eastern towhee, eastern wood-pewee, gray catbird, hermit thrush, herring gull, house finch, mourning dove, Nashville warbler, northern cardinal, osprey, ovenbird, red-eyed vireo, ring-billed gull, rose-breasted grosbeak, savannah sparrow, song sparrow, veery