I met my old friends today..... or so it seems. A few years back when I was more of a 'western' man, true to my calling, ...a bit settled with dust and age and at that time...resided in eastern Washington state. Open and wild and inviting .....I would venture to one of my favorite areas; just to sit, no more than that; just to sit. For here I had 'old friends'....
It was here in my 'sitting locale' akin to a park bench but a mere set of boulders that created this bookend nestled near a mudflat, that I learned to appreciate my old friend; the killdeer. They would flitter about like sections of a crumpled newspaper blowing around the tall grass on one side.....they would offer courtship to each as the male would strut around with his tail up high....showing off of course. For what else does a good male do?
''There on the mud flats during certain times in which they occurred', we became companions to a degree....the killdeers would go and court, for yes, they were members of the court at that time. ....lost in their overcoats with a black ascot around their neck, in proper attire no less yet with eyes that shown of bloodshot red as if coming home from a hard night. Their behavior was caught by whom might venture just to stop and do no more than just watch. They were not shy, nor hidden from sight....but open and inviting, just like the country.
These were my friends. I would take my camera with me and capture a shot or two, or just let my eyes wander over the full scope of the mudflats, soft and oozing as footprints left a record of their travels. These friends of mine never cared much for me, as I said before....but matter not, no need.... for I knew of them as part of nature, as sure as the mudflats themselves or the algae that grew in little pools around. Yet strange enough I knew, we might possibly sit later on in other days, perhaps sharing an apartment and resting just quietly.
My friends would so casually turn to me.....as if to care..... at other times I felt like offering myself a glass of wine, so I could toast to their act. It was an act, but not for me of course. Killdeer..... my friends. Times like today as I walked around the grounds of a quiet high school nestled in the pines of south Jersey, my friends and I met up once more. Oh, it must be a few thousand miles away from my other encounters but strange enough, they still turned their attention to me, and I towards them. There they were in a parking lot this time.....flirting around. I love to watch them fly so directly to a spot, just to fly. They land and speak, and act.....they play tag with my eyes and with their partners. They then just 'up and go'....without much thought and not without any recognition to me, nor I to them. As I walk I know I will encounter them again in a different part of the parking lot.....over there, beyond.... A time it was then...and is now. Sweet innocence borrowed from my mind and yet confident I am that yes, we will play the game with eyes and sound and flirts be it tomorrow or the next, or here in Jersey or in Washington for I want you to know that my old friends don't escape me it seems, for I have a photograph where I preserve my memories of my friends.