I was sitting on my cottage floor when I heard a loud and disruptive scrambling and a shrill squawking from the vicinity of my roof. A decibel level that can be appreciated only if you know what living in small wooden quarters, akin to a shipping crate, can do to sound waves.
I opened my front door, and stepped out beyond the overhang, whereupon something dropped from above, narrowly missing my head, and implanted itself in the ground with an eerie thud. I saw a large raptor fly off. There before me, lips down, tail up, like a new breed of forest growth, was a fish. Maybe just short of 12 inches of fish. While it took a moment for me to wrap my nearly concussed head around the scene I moved to grab the fish. It was still alive and flip-flopping (precursor of the political kind) as I placed it in a horizontal position.
Thinking it would be a mercy to relieve the fish of suffering, and pondering whether dinner had been delivered when neither food nor much else in rural Wyoming is (and suppressing the errant question of whether this counts as fishing without a license), I asserted myself (let's not dwell on the details, its entrails were protruding as consequence of being airlifted via a set of lethal talons).
It seems that an osprey and a rival were in a tussle, as I saw the osprey return some hours later clearly in search of its prematurely released catch. I must have intruded at a pivotal moment and the fish dove to earth, the osprey finally relaxing its grip in the face of one too many insurgents.
This fish tale resonates as the most symbolic of its sort in a while. There is the snowshoe hare that was hopping into my house one March, the wild tom turkey that perches atop our truck cabs and rooftops, the hummingbird that comes to get me when he wants the feeders freshened. Those are just a few stories for another day’s musings but they strike me as more entertainment than emblem.
People who are not residents of this relatively young and unpopulated geography doubt me when I talk about the wilds of Wyoming and the concentration of astounding events that can fill the seasons.
From my vantage point, twixt earth and sky, the allegorical interferences are ceaseless.
The Osprey and the Whitefish
A tussle and a fish dives
headfirst into the ground
narrowly missing my head.
What does the Osprey learn?
That fish on land vanish
more completely than in sea?
What do I learn?
That marvels appear, fly in, or even descend,
with impressive frequency?