Mana From Heaven

     A long walk in the backwoods, across the stagnant water still sitting in the channel behind the fence–leftover from the spring runoff–now nothing more than a mucky breeding ground for mosquitoes.  Out to the pond which lays still and murky.  Not even a water skipper to riffle it’s surface.  Reflecting the grey cloudy sky, it looks like an empty hole in the field.  Walking across the grassy meadow above it, the sky is silent in the muggy midday heat.  No sign of the redtail hawk soaring overhead.  No sound of chickadees or meadowlarks or even the plaintive keening of the mourning doves.  The grass stands brown and brittle not even twitching in the heavy air.  Even the heron rookery is quiet, the only sign of life a beak sticking out of one deep nest, barely visible even with binoculars through the thick net of cottonwood leaves.

I head back toward the pond, my eyes searching for new blooms of wildflowers, but the only color in the grass is the noxious leafy spurge.  My mind drifts, finding nothing interesting to settle on and pretty soon my thoughts are already far away, worrying and planning.  Nothing.  There is nothing worth writing about today, no insights, no connections, no revelations.  Only my bare ankles being rubbed by the toxic leaves of the knapweed, raising tiny itchy welts.

I bend down to scratch them and then suddenly, out of the sky the bright flash of something dropping to the grass two feet from my nose.  I look up to see the low flying  W wings of an osprey circle once, then head back towards the river.  And there, in the grass is the silvery fish, an offering to the writer starved for a subject.

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