Tuesday, October 21, 2008

better late than never

Last Saturday was one of those rare days when everything I did felt awesome. I rolled out of bed to help with the Lookout Hill cleanup for a few hours. I raked leaves, threw sticks over a fence, swept landings with a pushbroom, and enjoyed the brisk morning air. Later, when my hands were raw from manual labor, I stopped at a yard sale, took a shower, ate some leftovers, and made my way over to Green-Wood Cemetery. Map in hand, I decided to make the Dell and Crescent Waters my destination. I love exploring new places and finding new ways to old places; the Crescent and Dell Waters fell that day into the former category.

A flush of mourning doves heralded my entrance through the Fort Hamilton Parkway gates. Soon I tracked down the singer of a repetitive and varied song - a northern mockingbird atop a mausoleum. It struck me as odd the juxtaposition of two such classic symbols: a bird for life and cold stone for death. But even stone erodes over time, reminding us that perhaps death is not as eternal as we secretly and deeply fear.

On my walk, I saw lots of blue jays zooming from evergreen to evergreen. Eventually they sent up an alarm, and I was lucky enough to see the cause: a red-tailed hawk's approach. Later, on a slope, I saw a pair of small, yellowish warblers with rusty caps in the grass, bobbing their tails. Palms, I do believe. Tons of kinglets around as well. I accidentally came very close to a golden-crowned, but it didn't seem bothered by my closeness. I stayed very still and watched it for a few minutes, and all of a sudden, the little guy flew right at my face! I laughed out of sheer surprise, and at the last second it swerved abruptly upward. What fleeting moments make up our greatest joys!

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