Doing the Wash

One day hiking up a California hill I had named the “Goetheberg” I happened on an entire wing from a red tail hawk. We’d had a storm — lots of wind and rain — and I thought maybe the wind had brought the bird down. There was nothing other than the wing and only enough flesh to hold the feathers together. I picked it up and brought it home. I kept it for years and often wondered how it had fallen. A serious attack from a above was also a plausible cause.

The first time I was aware of the storied side of that world was when I was with my mom in Tucson and I took an early morning walk in a sandy wash and found mallard feathers and shining green heads strewn all around.

I suspected coyotes but it had rained and there were no tracks. “There’s a story here,” I thought, “but I will never know what it is.” Over time I saw the bleached bones of carnivore skulls, prickly pear seeds in coyote scat (“How?” I wondered until I had to try the fruit myself), footprints of prey followed by footprints of predators. If I walk with my head down now, you can blame it on that. There are a lot of good stories on the ground and, also, feathers.

Wild prose drains into desert washes. The day I found the wing, I turned away from the hill and walked up the wash. I guess I hoped to read more of the story.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2020/07/11/rdp-saturday-feathers/

5 thoughts on “Doing the Wash

  1. I think I’ve been walking with my eyes to the ground since forever. I’ve found so many interesting things – and money too! The story is there – we just have to make the connections between what we have and what we see…

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