Never Stop Looking, Listening, and Envisioning

A flash off the bald eagle’s bill was so bright. I thought it must be made of metal. Seeing the sun shaft illuminating the rock cliffs can only be understood through the eyes. No words can describe it. A blue-gray figure stands motionless near the river like a shadow. The heron ever so patiently waiting for that exact moment to pierce an unsuspecting fish feast. Juxtaposed are the tipped up mallards. Their tails to the sky and their heads underwater skimming the shallow river edges for breakfast. Sun glints off the golden of its namesake eagle surveying the country from a cottonwood lookout. Rough-legged hawks scrutinize the fields below their posts for the unwary vole. Bovine calves hug the willows on the field’s edges hiding from the wind and soaking up any sun rays. A white spark. Two white-tailed deer scoot over the fence, zoom across the highway, pop over another fence daintily fading into the willows. Red-winged blackbirds flag the wetland habitat keeping guard over their newly won territories. Two ravens perch on an isolated cottonwood, using it like a crow’s nest lookout glassing for “opportunities.”

I reach a spot to stop and “listen” for sage grouse. Telemetry in hand, I hear the heartbeat-like sound of the radio telemetry pulse signifying a radio collared sage grouse is alive. Although I don’t see her with my eyes today, I see her with my mind. She sits nearby in camouflage clothes with 40 friends waiting quietly. The group is poised near the lek. The dancing will begin again at daybreak. While I am visualizing sage grouse, I hear geese calling somewhere overhead. I scan the unbelievably blue sky flecked with white clouds. Tilting my head way back I see the V, W, Y-changing formation of snow geese. At that high altitude and direction of travel, I wonder, are they headed for Lake Coeur d’Alene? Back on solid ground, I see mule deer foraging for grasses and forbs amongst the sagebrush. A cottontail rabbit lopes across the opposite two-track. Dots on a white background, shrubs or elk. My eyes keep scanning, my ears are pricked, and my mind is unlocked, don’t want to miss anything in natures cabaret. Never stop looking, listening, and envisioning.

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