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Crista Matteson

Hidden, Then Seen

Song Sparrow  

It’s all because of my silent companion, and our daily walks. I’ve learned to see, learned to listen. As an avid runner I’ve spent many hours traversing the streets and parks of Seattle, but never seeing what I do now. We walk, setting out each morning, quietly, never conversing, just observing. Always drawn to our spot, the Meadowbrook Detention Pond. Life there is different each morning.

There was a chill in the air, the leaves under foot, crunched with frost as fall turned to winter. Soon the water froze solid, for a week, and then thawed. But I know that, as before, eventually winter will move on to spring. We go there to see the inhabitants, our neighbors. Of course there’s the usual elegant Heron, the ever-present Mallards swimming in groups, and the Kingfisher. My favorites, small and abundant, continually moving, are the Chickadees, the Wrens, the Bushtits, and the others that flit about the dense tangles along the waters edge. The strikingly intelligent, and vocal Crows are always making their presence known. With the bitter cold air settling on the pond, so came a few new visitors, the Mergansers came in pairs, and the lone Cormorant.

I have my silent walker to thank for these observations, this introduction into the tenacious wild around me. These inhabitants of Meadowbrook I hadn’t considered in detail before. For my mute companion and I, walking is different now, now that I don my binoculars, or sometimes my camera. I know we will be silent, just listening, for a while, at least. I can’t help but wonder if he shares in my excitement over every new discovery.

Who would have thought, getting a dog would turn me into a bird watcher, a bird lover. What was once hidden is now seen. What is seen and heard, is manifest in this body of new work.

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