Notebook Entry #1 

Morning Walk: Study in Contrasts

The blackberry bushes keep on invading, busting out green and growing thorns along the trail. Flowering inside a tangled thicket, a solo apple tree flush with pink and white blossoms, insisting it will, it can, it shall.

Beside the outhouses farther down the trail, three military recruits in heavy gear and canvas hats have paused to re-arrange their packs, fill their water bottles. They wear camouflage fatigues and polished army boots, and stand—one young woman, two young men—alert and spine-straight, and over their full camouflage jackets, safety vests, neon orange, bright enough to see from a far-off distance, easy enough to spot even inside a thicket, never mind a war zone.

On a high-wire, inside a sky fluting birdsong, a single robin unsinging, warbling nothing, like the man on silent retreat practicing the art of mindful listening, this robin’s brain the size of cherry pit, a blueberry, a half-popped kernel of corn.