Sunday, September 19, 2004


I am not alone on the river path.

There was the turtle man -- tall, thin, with a gray ponytail -- who told me I must watch for the turtles. They're this big, he said, making a cirle with his arms in front of him.

There was the man on the moped, cheerful, older than me, a bit beat looking, who told me how once, drunk, he wiped out on his little bike and landed in the sluiceway.

There was the heavily accented man, middle aged, who explained that there were sweet berries that taste like yellow peaches near the soccer field. I found them. They looked like tiny, dusty plums. I didn't taste them.

Then there was the retired cop who got off his bicycle to tell me about the incredulity of the Audubon Society woman whom he'd called to report seeing a yellow headed blackbird. I am a retired cop he said, pleading his case to me, and I've testified in many trials. I know what I see.

And then there was the man, quite elderly, who told his birding stories -- I once saw five cardinals by the Moody Street Bridge ! -- with such urgency that he reached over and touched me, lightly, repeatedly, on the shoulder. But that was a long time ago. The birds were better then.

What about the woman with the camera ?

She listens attentively, politely, but is always a bit impatient to get back to her weeds.

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