Today, like every day for the past two years, I take a stroll through the front paths of the back part of the woods. My dog and I watch as the forest changes, as we change with it.
From day to day, the coppice grows a muse within me. I kick chestnuts that Pickles tries to eat in the Winter. We chase pigeons in the Spring. In the Summer, we have picnics in the grass, and in the Autumn, we sit on benches and bask in the fading sun. We love the Bois de Vincennes.
I find solace in the unwavering, constant presence of the trees, or rather, the solemn, seasoned beasts amidst. They stabilize me as I perdure an extended forestial observation in search of something that I still can’t quite put my finger on.
This place is my catalyst, the trees within it are the personalities within a life that lead me, in twists and turns, backwards into the hollows of my mind, reflecting on the current state of things.
Normally, on any given walk, I might run into a stranger who looks just like their dog. And, while this person will begin to speak at me about something or other, I remain silent through to the end. A parting smile usually does the trick, smooths over my rough feathers, which is all I can muster, as I rarely enjoy smalltalk and I am most eager to get a move on.
Indeed, it can be said that I become almost copious with observation from the first step I take into this large tree-laden park, time and time again. I lose all patience. I am drawn to the erratic chirping of the birds amidst.
I am now walking; I am instructed to breathe.
Instead of meeting someone whom I would soon ignore and forget, I meet a blackbird today. Not big enough to be a raven, he is nonetheless, beautiful, ominous, curious.
He is following Pickles and I through the forest, sometimes on foot, sometimes in the air, sometimes bouncing along the path behind us, quite peculiarly for almost half an hour now. His speech is that of the “caw”; shrieking, perhaps he’s warning us of what is to come.
But nothing bad has happened yet. I think I’ve just made a veritable, feisty friend.
But then he just stops. He ceases moving completely in the middle of this clearing here, which is awfully sunny. Silent, he is seeing us off as we cross the road and head back into town.
And, I am lead to feel sad as I make my way out of the woods.
The streets here bustle in an afterwork, happy hour, Thursday sort of way and I wonder what he is thinking, my little pal. Is this the first time in two years of Bois promenades that we’ve seen each other, or have I already heard his call? Has he followed Pickles and I before, yet we didn’t notice?
Sometimes, I feel like no one understands me. But, today, I found a blackbird (or rather, he found me) who is like a kindred spirit, a scavenger of sorts, but we all are anyway when we’re hungry. I feel full and thankful for having made it this far to meet you.
So long, my little, lonely friend.