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It is almost time for Fox Sparrow to leave.

Yesterday a red cargo ship full of containers from Asia approached our coast. It happened on a glassy, high-blue light day as the Bay Area can be in February, so that even the frothy wakes along the ship could be seen crisply miles away. And how the crew must have seen the land from miles away also, how that green and gray brown alights after a month at sea. The welcome that builds after days of an interminable emptiness on the horizon, in every direction. Maybe a terror of openness, but the warmth of possibility. Lonely yes, but connected to the ocean and the sky, feeding on inward mornings and memory — connected to all things, connected even by our loneliness. To be on an endless sea — yet, as Caroline said, to feel lucky waking in the morning unafraid, to get up with the desire to get up, for another day of open and empty horizons.

After ten epic years at war, and ten more at sea, Odysseus reaches home where no one can recognize him except his dog. He is washed by his childhood nanny, who discovers a scar on his thigh, revealing his identity. His scar is the doorway to homecoming.

How life’s experiences, like words, cut and divide while gathering its skins into a scar.

I hope while at sea, I would delight in the unrepeatable colors, and how ocean water defies all predictable pattern, and what fog can create with light. That I would relish in all the inks and brushes I have, not analyze those I don’t. And maybe there is a bird, the courageously pelagic amongst us. At home without terra firma, the beings of the utmost unhousedness.

Does anyone else wonder where Fox Sparrow is when he is not at my feeder?



(Ma Yuan, Studies of Water, 1190-1224)

“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in the sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no rain; without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist.” — Thich Nhat Hanh