Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

2014-03-22_merlin reflection

Baby chicks are used to living in clutches, so it was recommended that we keep our orphaned peep, Merlin, company by placing a mirror in his living quarters.

After observing him for days with his mirror, I couldn’t help but sense that he knew he was looking at himself. And that the experience was rather profound, this gazing upon himself in all of his chickenhood. A rare opportunity in the lifetime of a rooster.

We’ll never know for sure if he was fooled into thinking he was with other kin. One thing’s for sure, Merlin was no ordinary bird.


Don’t Forget the Dolphins

I fear I waited too long to take a photo of the Bohemian’s garden at the height of its verdant glory.

The beets have been pulled from one bed, the soil turned over. There will be no replanting. The sweet peas are beginning to droop on thinning vines. The bulk of their harvest, already done.

There was a time about two months ago, when our family would take our little baby chick, Merlin, into the garden. Let his small, fluffy-self wander through the maze of raised beds that housed so much potential. Tarragon was blooming, the beet starts were taking root. The volunteer tomatoes were a surprising experiment that needed a trellis, fast.

One month later, Merlin went missing, never to return, though the garden was lush with green foliage and budding broccoli. I told the Bohemian, it was the biggest, most beautiful garden of his, yet. We should take a picture.

At the time, I was busy taking photos. Feeling a surge of creativity flowing through words, images, sketches. Inspiration was everywhere and I was ripe to capture the beauty, often sharing it here in the Archives.

As for the garden, maybe somehow I thought it would look like that forever. So I never did take that shot.

And then things changed.

We found out we had to move. The cycle shifted.

And now, all creative forces are channeled to Craigslist’s long-term rental searches and crafting summarized snippets that start with “Island Family Seeks New Home on the North Shore…”

I leave the lobe of poetry and orient my brain to sorting Jeb’s room for our pending garage sale. Thirty-five stuffed animals are categorized with his given titles: “Keep”, “Give to F” (‘F’ being short for ‘Friend’), or “Sell”.

Rather than admiring the way the light beams on the blue pottery shards at the kitchen window, I look upon them with scrutiny, wondering if the prudent Bohemian will find them superfluous in the move.

I am not complaining. I am more noticing the cycles of life. Just as in the garden. There are times of fecund fullness and periods of dying off. Each phase leading to the next.

I am fascinated by my own ebbs and flows, seeing that my mind right now is absorbed in all things practical. So much so, that today’s post is free of images. Just words documenting my observations.

Yet the artist in me cannot let this piece end with only chores and lists-in-formation. The poetry lobe whispers from the backseat.

“Come on, tell them about that rising full moon at dusk. The color of cheddar cheese and bigger than the sun. How it seemed to rise out of the two-lane road as you and the Bohemian drove, side by side, salt-coated from your sunset swim. Go on, tell them.”

“How about the dolphins? Don’t forget to mention how before you sorted Jeb’s Legos you took a jar of chai and toasted bagels to the beach. Let the morning sun warm you. Gave yourself an hour to watch a pod of dolphins circling the bay. Cheered as you saw them spinning in free delight, mid-air. Don’t forget the dolphins.”

I guess that’s the beauty. All of these things of life – profound, mundane – mixed together in one big stew of poignant potency. Sorting the junk drawer and standing in awe at the moon.

Oh, ok, I’ll throw in an image (even if it is a repeat).


Bird of a Different Feather

Just the Bohemian and I, driving at day’s end down our quiet country road. Half a mile from home.

It’s been exactly one week since we lost Merlin (the orphaned chick we adopted, and promptly fell in love with). We are not thinking of the day within this particular context, however, as a small brown spot of fluff appears within view.

As we travel at about 30 miles per hour, we pass a lone, baby chick in the grass, just a foot or two from the road.

“That looked just like Merlin,” the Bohemian says.

“I saw. Should I pull over?”

I ask and veer to the side of the road all at the same time.

Park. Turn off the ignition. “Could that be Merlin?”

The Bohemian is calm. “Maybe. Let’s take a walk.”

We leave the car and walk back along the road, eyeing the tiny chick ahead. There are no other animals around. It stands with its back to us, enough to show wings with golden brown feathers, so similar to Merlin’s. If it were to turn toward us and reveal a chest of white down, we would know for sure.

“Merlin…” the Bohemian tries his standard call as we approach.

The chick pivots to face us, and we know instantly it is not him.

Merlin or not, this little one is clearly orphaned. But before either of us can squat down low and say “ahhhh…” in its direction, the little peep has fled from our presence and scurried across the road.

Without hesitation, the Bohemian turns and moves toward the car. “That’s not our chicken.”

I know, and we are both walking back, side by side.

“He ran from us. He’s not ours.”

“Yeah, I know. It’s true.” I say.

It’s not that we don’t feel empathy for the orphaned chick we just came across. Hopefully, it will find its way. And if it doesn’t – at the risk of sounding cruel – we can trust that nature has a way of keeping some kind of balance in a booming population.

As we drive back home the Bohemian says, “Wouldn’t it have been crazy if that was Merlin? Just a short way from home. Standing by the side of the road, thinking: where are you guys? I’ve been waiting for you!”

Yes, that would have been a surprising twist to our Merlin the chicken saga.

But our hands are empty when we get home, and the house is quiet except for the sounds of song birds outside in the garden.

Looking back on that brief roadside moment with the maybe-Merlin chick, I’m struck with one lasting impression.

The chick looked so similar. About the same size, a similar chirp. But it did not at all feel like the bird we came to know as Merlin.

Merlin, he truly was a bird of a different feather.