On the way home from work several yeas ago I stopped for a ‘cleansing’ walk in Pacific Spirit Park.
I kept to the public pathway until I spied an intriguing, overgrown deer-path. I held my breath and looked both ways along the public path; heard nothing, saw nothing, so I climbed over the rustic, wooden fence and followed the deer-path as it wended its way between maples and alders. After a few minutes I came to a particularly pleasant spot: a circle of alder trees delineated a clearing about ten meters in diameter. A large, flat boulder — stippled grey-green — sat in the middle of the circle.
A rustling caught my attention; at the edge of the clearing, to my left, a small bird regarded me out the corner of her eye; her feathers were mottled greys and pale yellow-greens; these colors, along with her moss-green head and elongated, ochre beak, provided natural camouflage against the leaf-strewn earth.
She began to chatter her beak while simultaneously producing a guttural cawing.
I took a step toward her; she hopped backward and discharged chatter-caw profanity, so I sidled a wide-berth around her and sat on the boulder. She seemed amenable to sharing, as long as I respected her personal space.
She glanced at me, hopped about, and then flew into the branches of the tree directly behind her. She was filled with nervous energy; she flitted down to the ground, then up into the next tree, down, up, down, working around the clearing counter-clockwise from tree-to-tree. When she was about three-quarters of the way ’round the circle, paranoia bubbled up from the dark depths of thought: I imagined that she was spinning a trap; I jumped up, dashed out of the clearing, and back to my car.
Once inside the car I had a good chuckle at myself.
The next day I decided to go back to the clearing. I couldn’t find it. I’ve searched a half-dozen times, but I must have forgotten exactly where I’d stepped off the public trail.