Monday, July 11, 2011

Junkos and granddaughters

When I tell my granddaughters about Junkos

Let me tell you about these little birds,”

I'll say, “that I saw in Seattle....”

(There will be lots of questions then:

Where's Seattle?” “Is it far?”

Can we go there?” “How'd you go?”

They move along a story

the way the pump the swings

in the park down from their house--

quickly, rising higher, full of wonder.)

Then I'll tell them how the cook

in the conference center where I was,

saw me watching the little birds.

He was smoking a cigarette,

watching me watch the birds

while I smoked as well.

(I'll leave out the part about cigarettes.

Let there parents deal with that someday....)

They're called Junkos,” he called to me.

The little birds?” I asked.

He nodded and blew smoke.

I jerked my head as one flew by,

almost skimming the grass.

He told me there were two kinds.

The ones with gray heads were just Junkos

and the ones with black heads were called

'hooded Junkos' with their black hoods.

Junkos are small and quick.

Swallow like, with long splashes of white

on their wings when they fly.

Curious birds, a couple hopped

into the meeting room we used,

craning their necks and watching us

for a while, wondering about us,

I suppose, then hopped back out

the door we left open

because of the heat.

I told the cook about Junko visits

and he replied they came in the kitchen

from time to time,

then left.

I don't know if Junkos

live in the East, if my granddaughters

could see them some day

in Baltimore.

I could look it up

before I tell them

in the green bird book

my friend John loaned me,

mostly forever, because

I love birds.

I could show the girls

the color plates of birds--

a multitude of them--

which I sometimes just

look at without reading the names.

But I don't think I'll research Junkos

before I see the girls.

I'd rather just wonder if I'll

ever see one here, in the East,

or if they live only on the Pacific

side of this wide land.

I like to wonder about stuff like that--

even stuff I could Google and know.

So I'll just tell them how much

I loved watching the Junkos

and leave it at that.

Let them wonder about the birds.

It's always good, I believe,

to wonder about things.

I pray those little girls,


will never stop wondering.

That is what I pray.

JGB 7/11/11

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.