Nature in the city

June 25, 2008

Tufts of white fluff drift over my goldfish pond, on the way somewhere. Escapees from a cottonwood tree perhaps, fanning out on this cloudless and cool Portland morning. Another pastoral moment deep in the city.

From my neighbors’ century-old linden tree comes an incessant chirp. Beneath the shroud of limbs, I can’t see the bird but its notes are familiar: distress.

A silent bird comes into view, a juvenile Cooper’s hawk on a thick limb. Its head bobs down then up, pauses, then resumes. Each movement frees little white feathers that join a wind-blown procession toward the pond.

Spying me, the hawk lifts off, baby bird brunch in its beak, and disappears through the green canopy.

The other bird, hidden, still chirps, each note now a lament for what’s been lost.