It was up one of those long climbs, with the ridge on your right, the valley open below to your left, and just at the top, the road hewn with dynamite and tool to expose its grey layers, backing off after passing a truck, letting a car pass, I saw a hawk get out of the way from the left at the top of climb, just in time, legs dangling spread below, the bird teetering, pulling up into the wind with a few slow wing beats, the closeness. A narrow escape, and maybe not so fortunate were the box of an eighteen-wheeler to come on through then.
Later on the road, the wind heavy, a catch of wings by the side of the road, to the right, a fan of feathers, hawk in color, red tail. Just that. And then another, and then even closer on the country west of Harrisburg, out of the mountain ridges, two more. The body unseen, the feathers up, still buffeted, by the side of the road.
Coming back from mom's. The literary life. That one fateful semester when he taught. His book, she was too shy to ask him to sign it, but not so, her friend Susan G.
The literary life. That one year, brooding man from Yorkshire, coming in down the aisle, shaking the snow off his overcoat, scarf.
Five days we did things involved with bird watching. Going down past Baldwinsville to find the right kind of bird seed. Derby Hill, on another cold overcast day, too windy for birds to fly, then three Chinook helicopters coming up over us on their way to Fort Drum. Montezuma Wildlife Refuge. The placement of preserved wetlands on the migratory route.
I sleep in her library on a narrow green camping air mattress, perfectly comfortable, resting still when she comes down to make her coffee and feed the cat. I'd forgotten to bring green tea, and made do.
Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Hazleton, Frackville, then descending down, through Harrisburg, stopping for gas and a pee, then on past Gettysburg, Roundtop visible off the right, Emmitsburg, Mount St. Mary's, then on, into Frederick, that first sweep of farmland when you rode out of DC now all gone, a long continuum of tract housing, and now they're building overpasses so that Route 15 isn't so held up for those who need to turn on to it to go to one place from another, and then on into DC in daunting rush hour, the real estate rush, the haves lined up, attending to by the higher end automobiles, the Mercedes, the BMW, the Audi, Tesla, and everyone competent at this rush and lane change, all of it boding an end to one's time living in such a competition.
The fool poet pulls up on a quiet street, unloads the rental Toyota, takes it back the rental office garage at the bottom of a hotel nearby, walks back over the bridge in the wind, and the soul, which can go only so many miles an hour, has not caught up with the numb body trying to pull away into the wind after the hunt for sustenance as cars and trucks go flying by.