The View From a Field-Anchored Bench


This is the first in a series of three, on site mediation writings.

Acres of brown and late summer-weary grasses, born green in the spring, bend to a cool breeze spawned from the sea below and the sky above. It’s like sitting in the center of a terrarium of earth, sea, and sky.

Another streak of brown soars overhead — a turkey vulture sailing a wind wave. Like a headlight, the white tip of its flesh-pecking beak, emerges from the vulture’s blood-red head, and searches for death.

It didn’t stop near me.

A pair of crows caw back and forth from the top of a drought-dry pine.

The sea rests for now. Winter, I pray, will push ocean waves to crash like water bombs exploding on the rocky shoreline. In its present meditative state, I am eager for the sea’s riotous winter yowls.

Today’s placid ocean invites water-hugging shearwaters, gulls and pelicans to pluck its fruits freely.

An egret balances on a thicket of giant kelp. Woe be to the fingerling species that swims within the sight of this graceful white bird with sharp yellow eyes. Snap! Gulp! The tiny fish becomes the egret’s snack.

A coyote plays the same game with errant ground squirrels — the ones who left the safety of their subterranean shelters. The vulture, without a single flap of its wings, dips closer to the coyote for a better whiff of the scene.

With eyes like golden radar, a hawk loops elliptic circles in the blue air. It vies for the same errant squirrels — all who dodged the pursuant fur and feathers.

The coyote fades into taller grass as a pair of hikers walk nearby, each with walking sticks tightly clutched, and a large dog at their heels. The hikers are impervious to the fielded drama and continue their trod forward.

For this vignetted view from a field-anchored bench, I give honor to the memory of a woman I don’t know. Her name, Barbara, is etched on a bronze plaque on the back of where I sit and states, “So everyone can enjoy what nature has provided.”


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