River Thoughts

River Thoughts

As I sit on a rock by the river—mist rising on the water, morning sun warming my face—I hear the tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker over my shoulder. A Downy woodpecker, no doubt, for they are common in these woods.

Judging from the softness of the tap, he is small, his sound barely audible beneath the squawk of blue jays and cat birds and the hum of traffic in the distance.

I turn and spy him in the tree, under a canopy of green, hidden from hawk predators above. Black feathers with spots of white, the absence of a cap of red indicates he is a juvenile.

He goes about his business, not minding the noise of the attention-grabbing birds.

Not minding that he is not yet marked with a red cap to prove his maturity to others.

Not even minding that he is not a red pileated woodpecker—larger, flashier, louder.

He is simply incapable of being other than what he is and, in that, he is content.

He focuses on finding insects and larvae in the cracks and crannies of the dead wood.

Or perhaps he is drumming to his friends “Come join me” or drumming his joy in being alive on such a glorious morning.

I turn back to the water.

I hear Him with me; his tapping and his presence, they comfort me.

Photo by Jack Bulmer on Unsplash

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