The umbrella dances to the song of the rain
Up and down, open and closed as the showers pass intermittently
Delicate wire frame strung beneath the lightest of covers
My fingers hover gentle, I don’t want to break it
Both strong and fragile simultaneously
Fine bones and beak spring to mind
As when I handled the Magpie chick with a busted wing, who this morning sang at me from my kitchen bench
She is not grateful, I saw the temper in her eyes and smiled in reply
“Stay wild little one, stay wild and you will heal and be free to deal with the world once more – soon, just a little while longer will you eat from the spoon and rest”
Whether she likes it or not, I will care for her away from the nest she cannot fly up to just yet
Until then I need her only to stay wild.
My dog is wild
Covered in damp clumps of hair he delights in the puddles, the mud, he pulls me down there too, where my legs becomes splashed and my clothes dirty
Streaks on my face that I can’t wipe away – my hands are already occupied by dog lead and brolly, a smile blooms huge as we dawdle inhaling the wet northerly blowing gustily, making my shirt snap and hiss, beneath it my bare skin is kissed by stray raindrops
Wolf dog will not walk on the sensible man made road
The wild smells call him to the sodden ditches where grass blades whisper the passing of bendy fox and leaping hare, of kangaroos that stand still and stare, little dark hands scratching their bellies
I watch them over the long grass, I’m tall enough, Hogan can only smell them as we pass, thankfully.
We find a crayfish, out of his element on the culvert crossing
Brown, blood warm flood water trammels beneath, perhaps he was flushed out onto this relatively dry concrete beach
He waves his claws at us in warning
My dogs nose edges closer, curious at the ferocity of such a tiny creature
I think of all the car tyres that will pass the small grey body today, he is helpless here and must be removed to safety
As I was taught as a child, by a brother who was wild, I pick him up behind the head, fingers careful on the back of his neck
He slashes and feints with his arm swords to hold me at bay, and I gently lay him further down the bank
“Stay wild little one it will keep you safe – for now do not wander and take care if you must cross the road”
I don’t speak aloud any language he will understand
And he doesn’t appreciate the feel of my hands
On his wild, wild shell
So I say these words in my soul, for there we are both sparks born out of the same elixir of air and chemicals
Then once again our wildness is cloaked in the grey of the rain, it’s peaceful and calm because nobody came out this morning
Only the wild things are out and about walking in the rain
Dogs and ducks, this soaked human too
The frogs in the gully in full throated tune
The cacophony so loud it lifts the hair on my arms
Which only settles when I walk into the closed-in box of my house
The Magpie chick greets me surly in her cage – I wish she would heal so she could fly again because houses are no places for hearts born free
It is barely a place for a human such as me
But healing takes time
So she will just have to put up with cages – for now
I hope she keeps her wildness
*Header photo is an older photo I took of Hogan splashing. I had no hands free for a camera this morning (yesterday morning now) and wouldn’t have wanted one anyway. The Magpie chick is even feistier this afternoon. A day of sitting around safe from the stormy weather and dogs is healing her, I hope her wing is better tomorrow, I can hear her parents warbling and calling outside – so can she. It’s sad, but she would be dead if I had left her and I’m not one for keeping my nose out of animals business, though sometimes I wish I could.
The writing is one part poetry, one part wind whispering and a third part melancholy for the things that humans are losing. Out of touch with the natural world, many are sliding the slippery slope towards somewhere else entirely. Somewhere where they forget that for thousands of years as a species, we lived close to nature and were part of her seasons.
4 thoughts on “The language that wild things speak”
This is great. I saw your name on my blog and I thought, hmmm, I wonder why Kate doesn’t write any more. And then I checked your blog and found you do. Not sure what happened to our connection.
I wasn’t here for ages Jeff, it’s been a busy year and I didn’t really have a lot to say on the blog – too many other distractions but I’ve shut a few of them down and am returning to my writing again.
[…] a different note and this will only make sense if you read my post The Language of Wild Things Magpie chick has been sent back to its parents who gratefully accepted her into their care. She […]
[…] Hogan would calm down and begin to sniff and by the time we arrived home, the leash is a soft relaxed loop and we are chilled, it is lovely. It is also a massive time commitment that I cannot give up. If I’m awake drinking coffee, Hogan is sitting in his pen watching me. Letting him down isn’t an option. So we go, every day. When it rains I’m in gum boots and an umbrella and actually I have found I rather like walking in the rain […]