No Rest for the Ravens
For there are the winter-killed dead to inventory and the coyote- and wolf-downed does, cached under brush. The extant huckleberries, withered bittersweet, must likewise be taken note of. Unguarded nests of lesser birds, the pale eggs or hatchlings therein. Wanderings of the unwinged, pismire factory sites, bear excavations, grubs revealed by the disassembly of rotting stumps and logs. Weather to be foreseen. Wind to ride, rain to be bathed by, dust as a salve against mites and lice. The barely perceptible breathing of a man asleep in the woods. He may be dying. The billion curiosities of the world—joyful toy tatter of cellophane, whatever it was dislodged that scale of bark ticking down the soon-to-topple leaning bull pine, the possibilities its root wad divot will exhume. The plume of smoke from a stone chimney, the warmth upwafting from its windward brink. Abundant stinks, a snail ascending a dew dampened leaf. Nickel, nail, bottle cap, knife, every metallic irregularity among the forest duff, along the miles of trail. All the while, the brief elaborate declarations, a lexicon of single-syllable commands, announcements, warnings, and ruses, verbs and interjections, nouns literal and abstract, indicating dimension, distance, succulence, and global positioning, here and there, and the possibility of God, which is air.