“Failing and Flying” by Jack Gilbert

How lovely, not only to be reminded of a favorite poem, but to have my voice and post, featured on one of my favorite blogs! Thank you for your uplifting words, Christy, the ones you write and the ones you share.

Words for the Year

Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew.
It’s the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last.
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist.
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say

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Spring Birding, 2016

Micah and I at Seven Tubs

Micah and I at Seven Tubs

We moved here to North Eastern Pennsylvania in October, and got to do a bit of hiking about, local fields, tracks of woods along railroad tracks and we took visiting friends to Francis Slocum State Park in November and I even spent a little time alone on Christmas Day at Rickett’s Glen since the weather was mild.

I think it was late October that Micah and I saw one of the largest Bald Eagles I think I’ve ever encountered, a juvenile soaring steady near the levee walk over the other side of the river in Kingston.  That same day we saw what appeared to be a fallout of Dark-eyed Juncos, and a possible Fox Sparrow. After that I think we just hibernated for the winter, getting our new home in order.

So this spring I vowed I would take some time to explore more of the local woodlands. Almost every weekend I’ve been out, sometimes with my youngest son, Micah, when he’s here, and other times alone. We were surprised to find the number of birds that can be seen in the woods near Kirby Park, including a Scarlet Tananger, Indigo Bunting, and another Fox Sparrow.

I just updated my Birder bio, and included more information about our adventures.

Since October of 2016 I’ve been living a bit further up the north branch of the river near Wilkes-Barre. I still see plenty of Bald Eagles nearby, and this neighborhood has its share of bird feeders, and therefore Accipiters. My youngest son and I have seen both adult and juvenile Sharp-shinned Hawks here. In late May, well after Broad-wing migration, we saw a local Broadie on three different days, right here in the suburban hills.

Down near the river there are plenty of Catbirds, Tufted Titmice, Eastern Bluebirds, and Song Sparrows, among others. And we’ve spent a fair amount of time in the woods looking for spring warblers this year, and practicing the art of pishing. I am hopeful of learning more songs. I saw a Black and White Warbler (my first in years!) and a Pine Warbler at Eals Preserver on Moosic Mountain, where I also experienced more Eastern Towhees than I have ever seen or heard in my life. We heard plenty of Ovenbirds around Seven Tubs, and have seen both Wood Thrush and Hermit Thrush from Bear Creek Preserve to the old over-grown park of Moon Lake. We pished out into the open a Northern Parula Warbler at the Council Cup lookout, and I know I’m missing some of this spring’s highlights.

I should also mention that I saw my first ever Brown Creeper as I was pointing out a White Breasted Nuthatch. My dear brother Vincent was visiting from Northern Ireland, and days after we experienced Boulder Field at Hickory Run State Park, we decided to check out the very back woods of the Bear Creek Preserve, a managed area recently acquired by the National Trust.

I was watching the Nuthatch when the something moved on the bark of a tree, and I focused right in. The camouflage was perfect, with a wide-spread tail for balance. Suddenly it dropped from its place about 15 feet up, and fluttered like a fallen leaf, only to land a nearby tree, lower down near the trunk. From there it began its jerky creeping back up. Amazing!

I found a video of the behavior, but it doesn’t quite capture the grace of the fall, which to me seemed like behavioral camouflage.

Like I said in the Birder bio update, I don’t take cameras, just my Nikon binoculars, and sometimes my scope, especially if I’m watching waterfowl, or something more likely to sit still for periods of time. So the photos I do get are either from a friend whom I’ve coerced into tagging along, or else they are phone captures. So forgive the lack of actual birds in these photos, but I thought, despite the mediocre quality of the shots, you might enjoy some proof of our adventures.


Release Party Wrap-up

Read on for the rundown, and for how to get a print copy yourself.:)

Word Fountain

We had our cake, and then we ate it too. We had our cake, and we ate it too.

Friday night, after a two-year hiatus, we celebrated the return of Word Fountain, the Literary Magazine of the Osterhout Free Library. Editors, writers, readers, and fans gathered in the Reading Room of the library for an unorthodox, but

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Even More About Our Contributors

Word Fountain Cover Summer 2016The new issue, the first in two years, comes out this Friday!

I promise, I’ll soon start blogging about other things again very soon.

I have recordings to share, birding and hiking jaunts to talk about, and perhaps yet a little more reflection on things in the news I can barely handle mentioning right now.

But for the moment, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me all these Word Fountain shares. This was my first time at editing a literary magazine, and what I didn’t know about the process could fill volumes much larger than this. I’m very proud, of our editors, proofreaders, and of course, our incredible writers. Thanks for letting me share with you about it here.

Word Fountain

The Summer 2016 Release Party for Word Fountain is this Friday at the Osterhout Free Library in downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA. We are thrilled that writers who have contributed their fine work to this project are coming from far and near to attend. We won’t get the chance to share info about every author before the issue is printed, but we did want to give at least one more sneak peek

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