My imagination makes me human
and makes me a fool;
it gives me all the world
and exiles me from it.
--Ursula K. Le Guin
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May, 2006 - Ospreys

Another birthday--quiet, lovely day, from just-picked organic strawberries at breakfast to a walk along the river at twilight--pink clouds, swifts darting a few inches above the water, and pink raspberry blooms along the rocky riverbank giving way to green berries. The ospreys have returned to their old nest on the train trestle--I watched the male lift and glide toward the far shore, disappearing in the trees somewhere near Vestal.

Nothing ever consoles me like nature. It's nothing you can predict, always that "surprised by joy" kind of experience that Wordsworth wrote of, the things he saw on his long excursions, such as his own version of "a dimly gleaming nest...." I love the way he turned the images inward and filtered them through his own conflicts and doubts: "I gazed--and, self-accused while gazing, sighed/For human-kind, weak slaves of cumbrous pride."

My artist friend, who lives near the osprey nest and also walks more than drives, keeps up with their habits. She was excited recently about seeing, for the second time in her life, a black-crowned night heron. Now that the river is cleaner, we're beginning to see more water-fowl that have long been absent. It could be better but any kind of progress is noteworthy.

Later this evening, during a sudden thunderstorm--lightening and torrential rain--I thought of those ospreys perched perilously on that rusting steel girder, keeping the eggs warm and dry (are there eggs yet, or is the nest still being renovated??) and how true they are to the task, nothing inconvenient, nothing consequential--natural, I guess, for humans to look at that with awe, even though it is only instinct, because everything is about us. With that thought, I'll resist calling the osprey sighting a birthday gift.