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 they 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 their 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,
I imagine Junkos
live in the East, as well,
and my granddaughters
could see them some day
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.