Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Along a Neighborhood Trail on a Foggy Day

From the footbridge on the trail

From the footbridge on the trail

Fog silences everything on the way down to the pond. The trees hold still, making way for the muted quacks from the ducks farther down.

I watch a flock of Blue Jays descend on a tree, screeching at something. I don’t see any owls or hawks, and eventually they leave, their work finished.

A Great Blue Heron watching the pond

A Great Blue Heron watching the pond

Above the trail, I notice a Great Blue Heron, solitary and watchful. My eyes drift from him to the shapes of the ducks drifting through the fog. One tree over, a Red-bellied Woodpecker squawks at the heron. I’ve never seen a Red-bellied Woodpecker in the neighborhood so I study him through the binoculars, his red nape leaping out of the surrounding gray.

I make a note in my bird book and watch him watch the heron, until, having had enough, the heron jumps off the tree and slowly flies up the creek back toward the bridge.

Tree and Cedar

The trail disappears in both directions, and I walk back toward home, stopping along the way to admire the texture of some broken trunks. What happened to shear off these branches and leave the gaps in the trees? Was it sudden like lightning or just the slow erosion of time?

I can hear birds chirping in the reeds, but they’re not to be seen. The fog diffuses the sound and their voices could be coming from anywhere.

Along the trail

A gentle fog and
brief graying of the familiar
renders the world new


  1. What a beautiful setting. Something about a gray day in winter that makes me itch for my camera.

  2. I have the same compulsion. Those are may favorite kinds of days for shooting.

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