I suppose nothing in life ever goes exactly how we envision, but what fun would it be if it did?
I took a brief hiatus from my internet hiatus to submit a grant proposal to the Jerome Foundation (a serious first world problem), and just before I clicked “submit”, this little guy came to say hi.
This may seem insignificant. ”So what? It’s a woodpecker.” Well, it’s a pileated woodpecker, and he is one of the many birds JCP kept a keen eye on during his travails across the south in the final few years of his life. Here’s an excerpt from an email he wrote my siblings and I on 4/19/2009:
Walking out the climbing cramps I listened to the real woodpeckers around here, the big Pileateds (which, when you say it aloud, sounds more like a mountain range than most words used to name mountain ranges). After traipsing through the woods I went for a walk down by the river. Looking out for snakes and trying not to disturb the beavers begin busy in their beaverish ways I watched two kingfishers flap and fly about, squawking in their kingfishery way. As an aside I confess that I painted a Kingfisher once, long ago – in my teens (it was damn good too but in a look at a picture and paint it sort of paint-by-numbers way, which is certainly NOT what I do now). Probably due to the fact that painting turned out so well Kingfishers have been my favorite bird, at least until I met a Pileated Woodpecker and watched him work for his dinner.
I have seen three Pileateds at once attack a stump and knock the beejeebers out of it. One day I saw a crow get in a fight with a pileated (the crow should have know better than to challenge a bird with a constitution allowing it to slam it’s beak into trees all day for a living). I also saw a pileated lose a similar challenge to a brave bright blue bird who was gallantly defending it’s nest (which happened to be in one of the rooms in the bright orange bluebird condominium I put up a couple of years ago). I fear I digressed here…
As have I. Perhaps this tiny window into my father’s beautiful mind will provide you with a glimpse into where the impetus for my writing resides.
Production on One Man’s Trash and my internet hiatus resumes…